Pirates notebook: Glasnow strikes out first 5 batters he faces vs. Orioles

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.Updated 55 minutes ago SARASOTA, Fla. — Right-hander Tyler Glasnow pitched only two innings Sunday in the Pirates' 8-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles but came out firing with every pitch in his arsenal. “I'm...

Pirates notebook: Glasnow strikes out first 5 batters he faces vs. Orioles

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Updated 55 minutes ago

SARASOTA, Fla. — Right-hander Tyler Glasnow pitched only two innings Sunday in the Pirates' 8-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles but came out firing with every pitch in his arsenal.

“I'm competing for a (rotation) spot, so I need to show people what I can do,” Glasnow said.

Glasnow struck out the first five batters he faced: Manny Machado (looking), Chris Davis (swinging), Mark Trumbo (swinging), Seth Smith (looking) and Jonathan Schoop (looking).

After Welington Castillo broke the spell with a single to right center, Glasnow caught Ryan Flaherty looking to end the fourth inning.

“It was fun. I felt good,” Glasnow said. “I just wanted to keep the same tempo. I made sure, from warm-ups to going out there, not to change too much or let the adrenaline get to me. That's what I worked on all offseason.”

Glasnow's fastball buzzed at 92-97 mph with plenty of life. His changeup, which he focused on during the winter, was effective.

“It was a good, solid first step forward for him,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “It's spring training, but six strikeouts is always good. I just liked that he threw strikes.”

There was a new twist to Glasnow's delivery — a slight rocking motion and slide-step — that kept batters off balance.

At the start of his windup, Glasnow came forward, leaned back for an instant, then went to the plate. Some of the inspiration for his slide step came from watching Tony Watson on the mound.

“I'm a big, tall guy, and I can drift forward pretty easily,” Glasnow said. “I started doing it in the offseason, and it felt nice. Thanks, Tony.”

The delivery is smooth, compact and relaxed. It helps Glasnow keep a consistent release point.

Glasnow said he had a tendency to tip his pitches early in the process of learning the slide step but has corrected that problem.

Cole ready for Fenway

Gerrit Cole loves pitching in iconic ballparks. On opening day, he can check Fenway Park off his bucket list.

After being tabbed to start in the Pirates' season opener April 3 against the Boston Red Sox, Cole is eager to take the mound at the 105-year-old ballpark.

“I'm a sucker for Wrigley (Field in Chicago), so I'll probably be a sucker for Fenway, too,” Cole said Sunday.

Cole has been to Fenway Park once before but has not yet pitched there in a game. He was the top starter for the USA Baseball national travel team, which worked out at Fenway before the 2009 World Baseball Challenge.

At 26 years, six months and 27 days old, Cole will be the Pirates' youngest opening-day starter since Ian Snell (26 years, five months, two days) in 2008.

Cole will be the first right-hander to start for the Pirates on opening day since A.J. Burnett in 2013. Lefty Francisco Liriano started each of the past three openers.

“It was something that I was working toward,” Cole said. “So I was really excited when Clint pulled me into the office and told me (Saturday). It's pretty cool.”

Jameson Taillon will start the second game of the Red Sox series. The pitcher for the third game is to be determined. Ivan Nova will pitch the home opener April 7 against the Atlanta Braves at PNC Park.

“Jameson, Ivan and I now have the next four weeks (of spring training) mapped out,” Cole said. “It's nice because there is no uncertainty, and everything is on schedule.

Three trips to the disabled list caused Cole to miss much of last season, when he went 7-10 with a 3.88 ERA. Although Cole is coming off a turbulent year, Hurdle did not hesitate to give him the opening-day assignment.

“It shows a tremendous amount of faith,” Cole said. “It's really special. It's an honor to be selected to do this. This is a new year. He's made his decision based on what he wants to see this year.”

Pitching coach Ray Searage is bringing Cole along slowly this spring. He threw just one inning in his first live batting practice session when the other starters went two innings. On Sunday, even though Grapefruit League games are underway, Cole threw a two-inning simulated game at Pirate City.

“That's what they like to do,” Cole said. “Before everything went haywire (because of injuries) last year, there was a similar plan in place. Ray likes the sim game before the real game, if he has an opportunity to get you one.”

Cutch admires Leyland

Andrew McCutchen is eager to play for manager Jim Leyland on Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

“It's going to be amazing,” McCutchen said. “I've only heard great things about him. He's old-school, so I'm looking forward to playing for him. It will be fun.”

McCutchen will report to Team USA's camp March 6.

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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