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Hurdle still mum on Pirates' Opening Day starter

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Clint Hurdle sounded close to naming his Opening Day starter to face the Cubs' Jeff Samardzija on March 31 in PNC Park. The manager hasn't yet, because the choice himself had not yet been told.

Whoever it is, he will be the Pirates' seventh consecutive different Opening Day starter, since 2013 honoree A.J. Burnett was introduced Sunday as the newest member of the Phillies. This is the second longest such streak in the Majors behind that of the Oakland A's, who will make it nine straight after '13 inaugural pitcher Brett Anderson's deal to Colorado.

The Bucs' rotation could include a trio of pitchers who had drawn Opening Day assignments elsewhere: Edinson Volquez (2012-13 Padres), Francisco Liriano (2009 Twins) and Wandy Rodriguez ('12 Astros).

One of them could join the recent lineup of Pirates Day 1 starters, 2008 through 2013: Ian Snell, Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Kevin Correia, Erik Bedard and Burnett.

The last Pittsburgh pitcher to start consecutive Opening Days? Oliver Perez, in 2005-06.

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer.
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