Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison are back at LECOM Park on Friday, and both walked into the clubhouse with gold medals draped around their necks.
“All day,” McCutchen said when asked how long he was planning to wear the medal after helping the United States win the World Baseball Classic on Wednesday. “Definitely all day.”
Neither will be in the Pirates lineup, though, when they take on the Rays at 1:05 p.m. Adam Frazier, Austin Meadows and John Jaso, from left to right, will fill the three outfield spots as McCutchen and Harrison get settled for the last week of spring training.
The handful of weeks spent with the national team culminated with an 8-0 win over Puerto Rico in the championship game, turning an already memorable experience for Harrison and McCutchen into a monumental one.
“We all knew what we wanted to do,” Harrison said. “We wanted to win. The U.S. hadn’t won.”
Pittsburgh’s Grapefruit League lineup in Bradenton is mostly filled with reserves against Tampa Bay. Jaso is batting third and David Freese is playing third base and batting in the cleanup spot. Shortstop Jordy Mercer and first baseman Josh Bell, the only two regulars, are batting second and fifth, respectively.
Trevor Williams will start on the mound for the Pirates, and Tony Watson, Daniel Hudson, Felipe Rivero and Juan Nicasio are scheduled to pitch in relief. Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole will throw over at Pirate City.
Diego Moreno will be on the mound for Tampa Bay as the Rays make the trip up from Port Charlotte. Erasmo Ramirez and Danny Farquhar will pitch in relief.