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Joyce, roster hopefuls to play in spring opener

Fourth-outfielder candidate went 1-for-2 in Monday's Black & Gold game
MLB.com

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates will hit the road on Tuesday morning to begin their Grapefruit League schedule.

The Bucs' traveling squad will head north to Lakeland, Fla., where it will play the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates will hit the road on Tuesday morning to begin their Grapefruit League schedule.

The Bucs' traveling squad will head north to Lakeland, Fla., where it will play the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.

Left-hander Kyle Lobstein will get the start against his former team. Lobstein, competing for a job in the bullpen while stretching out his arm like a starter, was claimed off waivers by the Pirates this offseason after the Tigers designated him for assignment.

Spring Training: Schedule | Tickets | Complete info

The Pirates will send a chunk of their expected everyday lineup to play behind Lobstein. Second baseman Josh Harrison will bat leadoff followed by catcher Francisco Cervelli, Jason Rogers (batting third as the designated hitter), first baseman Michael Morse and shortstop Jordy Mercer.

Matt Joyce, a former Tiger trying to crack Pittsburgh's roster as a fourth outfielder, will play left field. Versatile infielder Cole Figueroa, who has a shot to make the Opening Day roster if Jung Ho Kang is on the disabled list, will man third base. Prospect Willy Garcia will start in right, and non-roster invitee Danny Ortiz will play center.

After Lobstein leaves the mound, the Pirates will send out right-handers Wilfredo Boscan, Neftali Feliz, Curtis Partch, Rob Scahill and Trey Haley. Feliz, who finished last season in Detroit, might be the most interesting pitcher to watch, as he's looking to recapture the form that made him an effective reliever for the Rangers from 2009-14.

Black & Gold game notes

•: Taillon happy to be competing on mound | Glasnow focusing on changeup

• Team Gold won the club's annual intrasquad scrimmage, 4-3, on Monday afternoon at McKechnie Field. While top pitching prospects Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon started the game, prospects Steven Brault and Trevor Williams impressed by each throwing two perfect innings.

"It was just great to see them all on the mound," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Video: Hurdle reflects on Black and Yellow intrasquad game

• Shortstop Gift Ngoepe, added to the Pirates' 40-man roster this offseason, made a pair of outstanding defensive plays. In the second inning, Ngoepe quickly stopped a hard-hit grounder from catcher Ed Easley and made a strong throw to first to complete the out.

"He has defensive skill that grab your attention immediately," Hurdle said.

• Ortiz went 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs, and Joyce was 1-for-2 with an RBI double.

• A crowd of 3,359 attended the game, the Pirates announced. Proceeds from the $8 general admission tickets benefitted the Manatee Public School Foundation as well as Wakeland Elementary School and GD Rogers Garden Elementary.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.

 

Pittsburgh Pirates