Cold weather doesn't chill opening festivities

Cold weather doesn't chill opening festivities

PITTSBURGH -- The conditions on Friday morning may have felt more suited for football at Heinz Field than baseball at PNC Park, but the weather did not discourage the pomp and circumstance that came along with the Pirates' home opener, a 5-4 win over the Braves.

After beginning the season in Boston, the Bucs returned to Pittsburgh late Thursday night, then drove or walked through persistent snow to PNC Park for the first home game of the season.

Manager Clint Hurdle was thrilled for the occasion, no matter the weather.

"It's a special day of the year. It should be marked on the calendar," Hurdle said. "These things need to be appreciated, and I'm going to celebrate them."

The temperature at first pitch was 37 degrees. The first rule of cold-weather baseball?

"You don't talk a lot about the weather," Hurdle said, smiling. "It's going to be cold for both teams. It's not as cold when you win as when you lose. That doesn't make much sense, but I do believe in that."

Before taking the field, the Pirates honored their award winner from last year, as former Pittsburgh outfielder Andy Van Slyke presented Starling Marte with his Gold Glove Award. Pirates owner Bob Nutting then recognized Bob Friend, a three-time All-Star, for his contributions to the organization and the community.

The Bucs and Braves also paused for a moment of silence to remember longtime Pirates employee Sally O'Leary, former Major League Baseball executive Katy Feeney and Canonsburg police officer Scott Bashioum, who was killed in November while responding to a domestic dispute.

Pirates broadcaster Greg Brown offered a touching remembrance of Bashioum as the scoreboard displayed a photo of Bashioum and his wife, Ashley, dressed in black and gold while attending last year's Opening Day game at PNC Park.

After both teams lined up on the field, the City of Pittsburgh Police Honor Guard and Ceremonial Unit presented the colors, and local artist Gabby Barrett performed "God Bless America" and the national anthem. Bashioum's four children threw out the ceremonial first pitch and were greeted by Hurdle as they walked off the field.

Bashioum siblings' first pitch

Around the horn
• Setup man Daniel Hudson received the Pirates' lineup card from their Opening Day loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Why? It was Hudson's 200th career appearance.

• The Pirates switched up the top of their lineup on Friday. Marte moved into the leadoff spot, with Josh Bell batting second. Marte hit second in each of Pittsburgh's first two games, while Adam Frazier (Opening Day) and Jordy Mercer (Wednesday) batted first.

• Thursday's rainout forced the Bucs to shuffle their pitching plans. Hurdle said that the decision was made to "prioritize" their starters, with Ivan Nova (Friday) and Gerrit Cole (Sunday) maintaining their assignments and Chad Kuhl (Thursday's scheduled starter) bumping Tyler Glasnow from Saturday to Monday.

"That would be the first and foremost, to get Chad in play as soon as possible," Hurdle said. "That's unfortunately one of the challenges with a fifth starter spot -- sometimes there's some movement there."

• Minor League pitcher Junior Lopez received a 25-game suspension without pay, effective immediately, following a violation of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, Major League Baseball announced on Friday. Lopez, 25, is on the roster for Class A Advanced Bradenton, where he posted a 4.25 ERA in 38 appearances last season.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.