Day 32: Morris is a cool cat you want on your side in an alley fight

Maybe Gaby Sanchez does need someone with whom to platoon at first base. Someone who can hit left-handers.

Yeah, I know, it’s supposed to be the other way around. The Pirates love the way Gaby rakes southpaws, but came into camp unsure of whether he can handle righties well enough to be given the job full time.

So … three weeks into Grapefruit League play, Sanchez is 1-for-7 off lefties, and 5-for-9 off righties.

Guys, the drawing board eraser is right over there … 

* * *

I don’t know if Bryan Morris intentionally hit Cody Asche today after Phillies pitchers had already plunked two Pirates teammates.

I don’t know if Morris intentional hit Jordany Valdespin last May 11 after the Mets outfielder rubbed some people the wrong way.

I do know that I love the stuff Morris puts on the ball — and love even more the stuff he has in his chest. This is a guy you go to war with.

* * *

Sometimes, it helps to have a little Sherlock Holmes in you to cover Clint Hurdle, who isn’t prone to provide overt clues, but can drop hints here and there.

Consider his comment the other day that he wants to use the stiffer competition in Grapefruit League games to test pitchers fighting for jobs. In that context, the changes in the pitchers’ lineup for today’s game against the Phillies were revealing.

Yao-Hsun Yang who was originally scheduled to pitch, did not. That could mean he is out.

On the other hand, Cody Eppley and Phil Irwin, not among the original probables, did pitch, meaning they are still under consideration — along with Adam Wilk, who started, and Morris, who was valuable last season but must fend off some serious challengers.

* * *

Poor Andrew Lambo. He has played 13 games and has two hits. Travis Ishikawa, one of his competitors for a lefty-hitting reserve spot who missed the first two weeks of exhibitions while nursing a hamstring strain, has played six games and has twice as many hits.

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