Notes: Gorzelanny brushes off start

Notes: Gorzelanny brushes off shaky start

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Tom Gorzelanny knows Spring Training exists so that he may work out the kinks, and that's why he wasn't upset about his pitching line after Wednesday's 7-3 loss to Boston.

He wasn't happy about walking five and being charged with four runs, but he was able to keep things in perspective.

"I actually want to perform very well here and do very good from a confidence standpoint, but I still feel confident with where I'm going and how I'm preparing for the season," said Gorzelanny, who lasted 4 2/3 innings and was charged with his first loss. "That's all I really need to look for."

Pirates manager Jim Tracy agreed with his starter's statement, adding that he was proud of the way Gorzelanny went after each batter.

The results were mixed -- five strikeouts and just two hits allowed, coupled with two runs scored on a bases-loaded single up the middle and a flat fastball good for a double -- but Gorzelanny said getting his work in and working his balls around the strike zone were his primary concern.

It was the third start in which Gorzelanny struggled early, something he pointed to as simply having too much adrenaline and nothing else. The lefty has a 5.68 ERA in those three starts (totaling 12 2/3 innings), and has given up 13 hits, but struck out 10.

"It's something you can't really control too much," he said. "Obviously there's a few things I need to work on mechanically, but that's small and minor, and they'll be fixed before the season starts."

Doing it big: With his first home run of the Grapefruit League on Wednesday, catcher Ronny Paulino earned his team-leading 10th RBI. Paulino has 17 hits in his last 23 at-bats, and is hitting .500 (17-for-34) overall.

Injury report: Second baseman Freddy Sanchez [twisted right knee] took several at-bats Wednesday at Pirate City. He continues to participate in fielding, and is, as Tracy said, "very close to getting himself back out there."

John Grabow [tender left elbow] was in good spirits Wednesday, a day after throwing about 50 pitches from between 60-90 feet, and, according to Tracy, said he "felt as good throwing the ball [on] Tuesday as he has all spring long."

Defending their turf: Tracy is especially excited with the way his Pirates are playing defense this spring, and he has no reason not to be.

Outfielder Xavier Nady missed a chunk of time with an intestinal inflammation, but returned and threw out a Philadelphia runner trying to take two bases on a single earlier this week. Nate McLouth did the same two innings later from his post in left field, and added a shoestring catch in Wednesday's loss. Top prospect Andrew McCutchen made several awe-inspiring stops during the week in left field. Former catcher Neil Walker showed much promise with his backhand in his time at third base. Shortstop Jack Wilson showcased his speed by robbing base hits up the middle.

The list goes on and on.

"I don't know what else you would ask them to do as far as not only being aggressive to the ball, but making plays," Tracy said. "Making the routine plays, and turning in great plays."

Practice, practice: Sanchez joined Nady and first baseman Adam LaRoche at Minor League camp Wednesday to log some extra at-bats. LaRoche, who despite a .291 (9-for-31) average is struggling a bit at the plate, took six at-bats before heading back to McKechnie Field to play against Boston. He was the lone Pirate to earn a hit against Japanese starter Daisuke Matsuzaka during the 5 2/3 innings in which the Red Sox right-hander pitched.

Famous face: College basketball analyst Dick Vitale threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Wednesday's game. Vitale, 67, and a resident of nearby Sarasota, was sporting one of the red Pirates jerseys introduced earlier this year.

Good to be back: Right-hander Brad Lincoln is throwing again. Not off the mound just yet, but general manager Dave Littlefield said the Pirates' top choice in the 2006 First-Year Player Draft is throwing with no pain and is well on his way.

Lincoln has yet to throw this spring after experiencing discomfort in his forearm. The 21-year-old went 1-2 with a 4.56 ERA in six starts last season between rookie league Bradenton and low-A Hickory.

Up next: Pittsburgh heads to Dunedin on Thursday for a 1:05 p.m. ET game against the Blue Jays. Tony Armas Jr. will make his fifth outing (fourth start) for the Pirates, and is scheduled to be followed by Masumi Kuwata, John Wasdin, Salomon Torres, Matt Capps and Jonah Bayliss. Roy Halladay will start for Toronto.

Dawn Klemish is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.