BRADENTON, Fla. -- Tom Gorzelanny took the first step in putting his disappointing 2008 season behind him.
The Pittsburgh Pirates' left-hander worked out of a jam and tossed two scoreless innings in a 5-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Friday."It felt good. I felt strong out there," Gorzelanny said. "I want to prove to everybody that I do belong in this rotation and on this team."Last season, Gorzelanny was supposed to be the Pirates' ace. But, overweight and out of shape, he went 6-9 with a 6.67 ERA and spent much of the year at Triple-A Indianapolis.Gorzelanny's problems last season were mental as well as mechanical."Sometimes, I should keep my emotions in check more, especially on the field," Gorzelanny said. "I'm an emotional guy. When I do something wrong, when I give up a stupid hit, I'll get down on myself. You can't do that out there, because it shows (the other team) that they've got me cornered."In the second inning Friday, Gorzelanny walked leadoff hitter Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur on eight pitches. Pitching coach Joe Kerrigan went to the mound, giving Gorzelanny a moment to collect his thoughts.Matt Diaz worked a full count, then bounced into a double play. Freddie Freeman also grounded out, ending the inning.Gorzelanny reported to camp 20 pounds lighter, and Pirates manager John Russell believes it's made a difference."He worked awfully hard, not only getting his body in shape," Russell said. "The time he spent doing that, the work ethic, it changed his outlook a little bit. "Atlanta's Kenshin Kawakami pitched two solid innings in his spring debut. The 33-year-old right-hander retired six of seven batters he faced, allowing just a single by Adam LaRoche, and struck out one."I think it went well for being my first outing," Kawakami said, through a translator. "When I face my own team, I don't have that mentality of being aggressive. But today against the Pirates, I was able to be aggressive."Kawakami spent the past 11 seasons with the Chunichi Dragons of the Japanese Central League. Because of a back injury, he pitched only 110 innings last year.
Pedro Alvarez, the Pirates' top draft pick last year, made his first start of the spring. He replaced designated hitter Eric Hinske, who was a late scratch with a left ribcage bruise. Hinske expects to miss up to a week. ... Atlanta third baseman Chipper Jones hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning. It was Jones' first game in Bradenton since 1990, when he was in rookie ball. Greg Norton also homered for the Braves. ... Paul Maholm, the Pirates' ace and the only starter with a guaranteed spot in the rotation, is slated to throw two innings Saturday against Houston.