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Rotation set for first four Grapefruit League games

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle laid out his starting pitching for the club's first four games of the Grapefruit League schedule, beginning on Wednesday with the opener at McKechnie Field against the Yankees and through Saturday's home game against the Rays.

All of those four games are scheduled to start at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Francisco Liriano will start on Wednesday and throw one inning, followed by newcomer Edinson Volquez for an inning and as many as seven other pitchers behind him going an inning each, Hurdle said.

On Thursday, Charlie Morton will get the start in a rematch against the Yankees in Tampa, Fla., and pitch two innings followed by Jeff Locke and Brandon Cumpton for two innings each.

On Friday, it's Gerrit Cole to open for two innings against the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla., and on Saturday Wandy Rodriguez is slated to start and get his two innings.

"That gives you something to push forward on," Hurdle said.

On Wednesday, Hurdle said he expects this group to follow Liriano and Volquez: Jeanmar Gomez, Vin Mazzaro, Bryan Morris, Jared Hughes, Duke Welker, Josh Kinney and Adam Wilk, if needed.

On Thursday, following Morton, Locke and Cumpton are Yao-Hsun Yang, Daniel Schlereth and possibly Cody Eppley for an inning each.

On the other two games, Hurdle said, "You'll get the bullpen guys later."

Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.
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