Bucs beat Phillies in Rollins’ return
BRADENTON, Fla. – Jimmy Rollins was 0-for-4 in his return to Philadelphia’s lineup after a three-game benching and NL MVP Andrew McCutchen hit his third home run of spring training in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 6-5 win over the Phillies Friday.
Rollins grounded out twice, took a called third strike and flied out.
A day earlier, Rollins said he thought manager Ryne Sandberg was upset about something, which caused the benching, but Sandberg said he wanted to find Freddy Galvis at-bats with the season’s start a few weeks off.
Rollins declined comment after the game.
McCutchen went 2-for-3 to raise his batting average to .524 (12-for-22). Travis Snider also had two hits for Pittsburgh, including a double.
Ryan Howard hit his first home run of the exhibition season, a leadoff drive in the sixth inning off rookie Jay Jackson. He missed significant chunks of the last two seasons because of a variety of leg injuries.
Chase Utley drove in a pair of runs for Philadelphia.
Jeff Manship, trying to earn a spot in the Phillies’ rotation, allowed two runs and six hits in four innings with no walks and three strikeouts.
Pirates starter Brandon Cumpton, likely to start the season at Triple-A Indianapolis, gave up two unearned runs in four innings.
Phillies: Manship has compiled a 2.45 ERA in 11 innings after being signed as a minor league free agent. He went 0-5 with a 7.04 ERA last year in four starts and seven relief appearances.
“He just continues to pitch well,” Sandberg said. “He competes and gives us a chance to win. It was a quality outing against a good lineup.”
Pirates: Cumpton allowed two unearned runs in four innings. He also gave up two hits and one walk and struck out two.
“When you’re a ground-ball pitcher, you’re going to give up some unearned runs here and there, but it all evens out over the course of a season,” he said.
Phillies: Hamels is scheduled for his second bullpen session in five days Sunday. He has yet to pitch in a game this spring training and had not thrown off in a mound for 11 days until Wednesday.
“I feel really good,” Hamels told reporters at the Phillies’ camp in Clearwater, “just the way I was able to kind of bounce back. It came out of nowhere a couple weeks ago. It was very unexpected because I was really working well and everything was showing great signs. My strength was gaining.”
Pirates: No injuries reported.
Phillies: Veteran catcher Lou Marson was released after appearing in just three games and going 1-for-3 (.333) with a double. The 27-year-old has hit .219 in six seasons with the Phillies and Cleveland Indians.
Left-hander Jeremy Horst, catcher Tommy Joseph and outfielders Tyson Gillies and Zach Collier were optioned to the minor-league camp. Left-hander Cesar Jimenez, right-hander Ken Giles, infielder Andres Blanco and catcher Sebastian Valle – all nonroster invitees – were reassigned to the minor league camp.
Pirates: Outfielder Gregory Polanco, considered Pittsburgh’s top prospect, was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis along with right-handed reliever Duke Welker. Polanco hit .273 (6-for-22) with two doubles and one homer.
“Our goal is to put him in a position not to make the major league team but to help us win games,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “He’s ahead of the curve normally for a guy with less than 300 plate appearances above the A-ball level, but he still has some work to do.”
Homer for Howard
Howard was working with Steve Henderson and guest instructor Greg Luzinski on revamping his batting stance. His home run easily cleared the left-field fence.
Howard is 7-for-34 (.206) with 15 strikeouts.
“When you hit a ball that hard the other way, you know you’re swinging the bat better,” he said.