BRADENTON, Fla. -- Charlie Morton put in a claim for his inclusion in Pittsburgh's season-opening rotation with six solid innings, and Gregory Polanco struck his second homer in as many days as the Pirates downed a Toronto split-squad, 8-3, in Grapefruit League play Saturday.
Morton, making his way back from Sept. 26 labrum repair surgery, still could remain in Florida for extended spring training when the Bucs break camp on April 2. But he overcame solo homers by Daric Barton and Danny Valencia to limit Toronto to three runs, allowing six hits and walking two without a strikeout. He finished strong, retiring the last nine men he faced.
Veteran southpaw Randy Wolf, signed to a Minor League contract on March 16, was called up from Toronto's Minor League camp to make the start and had a rough time for 2 2/3 innings. Wolf allowed four runs on four hits, including Polanco's homer, a two-run shot in the first.
The Pirates broke open the game on a blustery day when Neil Walker's apparent routine fly ball to left with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth was fanned back by 17-mph winds toward the infield and fell for a bases-clearing double, making it 8-3.
Up next: Stolmy Pimentel will likely be pitching for his spot on the staff when he draws his first start as the Bucs trek to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to meet the Braves at 1:05 p.m. ET contest on Gameday Audio. Pimentel's first start follows seven relief appearances in which he has allowed six runs and 10 hits, as well as five walks, in eight innings. He is one of three remaining bullpen candidates (Radhames Liz, Arquimedes Caminero) out of Minor League options.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.