The Pirates 2022 spring training schedule officially got underway when the Bucs squared off with the Yankees on Friday at LECOM Park in Bradenton. The Pirates played a solid all-around game and defeated New York 4-3.
Cole Tucker blasted the first Pirates home run of the spring with a 429-foot bomb to center field in the home half of the third after making a fine over-the-shoulder grab in the top half. He tripled in his third at bat to start the third inning. Tucker finished the year strong in 2021, posting a .892 OPS over the final three weeks of the season and could see an increased role with a strong spring.
Tuck with the first homer of Spring! pic.twitter.com/KjDpFSfPy2
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) March 18, 2022
After Tucker’s triple, Greg Allen hit a two-run homer two center to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead. Allen was claimed off waivers from the Yankees in November and is a candidate to start in a corner outfield spot this year.
There was a comical moment in the bottom of the first when Allen was hit by a pitch, but the home plate umpire ruled it hit the bat and the two engaged in a friendly exchange. Two pitches later, Allen was hit in almost the exact same spot and this time, was awarded first base. Allen then showcased his speed and easily swiped second base.
2020 first rounder Nick Gonzales came in as a sub in the middle of the game and collected an RBI single in the seventh and stole a base on the next pitch.
Prospect Diego Castillo reached base three times, twice on base hits and one time via a base on balls. Fellow prospect Cal Mitchell hit an opposite-field double down the left field line shortly after.
Wil Crowe took the mound for the Pirates, who, maybe understandably, looked shaky to begin in his spring debut. His first inning consisted of surrendering a leadoff double, a walk, an RBI single and a wild pitch that allowed another run to score on a groundout. Crowe was able to get through his scheduled two innings. His line read – 2ip, 2h, 2r (both earned) 2bb and 1k.
Jerad Eickhoff, who was brought in over the winter on a minor league pact, went three strong innings in relief and picked up a pair of punch outs in the process. Kyle Nicolas, acquired in the Jacob Stallings trade, pitched a scoreless seventh with a pair of strikeouts, and Adrian Florencio did the same in the eighth.
The Pirates will host the Tigers on Saturday for their second game of the spring.