Pitchers named for annual Black & Gold game
BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates' Black & Gold Game provoked inordinate hysteria a year ago, when Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon opposed each other in the annual squad contest.
Still, the Bucs' exercise transcends the usual intrasquad game, because it lifts the veil off McKechnie Field, with gate receipts benefiting Manatee Educational Foundation, Wakeland Elementary School and G.D. Rogers Garden Elementary School.
Tuesday at noon ET, the Black's Stolmy Pimentel will face off against the Gold's Joely Rodriguez in a seven-inning game that sets up as the first showcase for hurlers hoping to crack the big league staff.
None of the dozen pitchers -- with only the starters due to work two innings -- scheduled to throw are certain of making that staff -- albeit Pimentel has a bit of an inside track since he is out of options.
Pimentel will be followed by Andy Oliver, Jay Jackson, Zack Thornton, Brandon Mann and Matt Benedict.
Rodriguez will be picked up by Casey Sadler, Jake Brigham, Cody Eppley, Elvin Ramirez and Ryan Beckman.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle cautions the pitchers not to overthrow in attempts to make a good first impression.
"You don't need to go out the first time and blow our ears back," Hurdle said. "Throw strikes, work quickly and efficiently -- that's what we'll evaluate. And pace, rhythm, command, velocity variation; and we always emphasize staying down in the zone."
The Black and Gold starting lineups will be revealed Sunday, when Hurdle could also name his starting pitcher for Wednesday's Grapefruit League opener against the Yankees at McKechnie Field.