BRADENTON, Fla. – Even though it was just a spring training outing, Vance Worley pitched as if it were Game 7 of the World Series.
The Pirates did not hit a ball out of the infield against Worley. The hard-throwing righty struck out two batters in each inning, dominating the Pirates with a mix of cutters, sinkers and curveballs.
"It's too early to strike out a bunch of guys," Worley said. "I'd rather get contact, because that helps you get deeper into games. Today, I happened to get a lot of swings and misses and some takes in there, too. If they're going to give them to me, I'll take them."
In his first outing this spring, Worley gave up two runs and five hits in two innings against the Houston Astros. He stewed about it for four days until he faced the Pirates.
"I sat on my couch and thought about it, even though you're not supposed to think about it," Worley said. "I basically said, 'I know I'm better than that.' I wasn't going to let it happen again. I had a little fire in me today."
The 24-year-old Worley went 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA last season and finished third in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. He ranked second among NL rookies in wins and fourth in strikeouts (119). Yet, he is not taking a spot in the starting rotation for granted this spring.
"I'm not going to say that I worry," Worley said. "But it's definitely a thought in the back of my mind that if I don't have success, it's not guaranteed that the job's mine. I have to earn it."
Making his spring training debut, Pirates starter Charlie Morton went two innings, allowed four hits and struck out two.
"My command wasn't really there," Morton said. "I fell behind guys. But I got it out of the way. It was kind of a different experience than what I've experienced thus far in camp."
The right-hander had hip surgery in October and is about a week behind the other pitchers in camp. He expects to be ready for opening day.
"Every time I got a checkup, I was ahead of schedule," said Morton, who resumed throwing in mid-December. "I've felt every day that I was going to be ready. We played everything on the safe side, and everything (in the rehab) was still fast."
The Pirates were hitless until the seventh inning, when Gorkys Hernandez reached on an infield single. Hernandez stole second and scored on an error by third baseman Michael Martinez.
After collecting at least 10 hits in six straight games, the Pirates have gotten a total of six hits in their past two games.
"I didn't get too giggly when we had the six consecutive games," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "It is what it is right now. We've got guys working on things. You never like to get shut down like we have been, but we're going to keep working."
NOTES: Pirates RHP Brad Lincoln (tight right calf) and RHP Kyle McPherson (tired arm) were scratched from their scheduled outings Monday. Both pitchers are listed as day to day. ... The Pirates have their first of two scheduled off days on Tuesday. ... Monday, the Pirates beat the Netherlands 8-2 in a scrimmage in St. Petersburg, Fla. C Michael McKenry had six RBIs, including a two-run homer and a three-run triple.