BRADENTON, Fla. -- The removal of Garrett Jones from Thursday's original lineup had a couple of interesting repercussions.
With Brad Hawpe starting instead of Jones at first base and Gaby Sanchez already scheduled to start at third, the Bucs had a new look at both corners of the infield. It was the first Grapefruit League start at those positions for both (Sanchez did start at the hot corner in Tuesday's game against Spain).
Jones' scratch sparked a brief brush fire of speculation that something might be afoot with the Yankees, who have been actively looking for help in the wake of the wrist injury that will force Mark Teixeira to miss as much as the first two months of the season.
The fire was put out soon enough: Jones complained of some soreness in his left side when he got to the clubhouse on Thursday morning, and thus was rested as a precaution.
"I felt it a little bit in the game [Wednesday]," Jones said, "and when I got up in the morning, I felt it a little bit more. I'd never had any problems in the oblique area, so just wanted to be cautious so it doesn't become something more serious."
Jones even participated in the morning warm-up, playing long-toss with Andrew McCutchen and throwing without apparent discomfort. But he skipped the rest of the pregame drills, instead getting treatment. He will "do nothing" on Friday, and likely rest through the weekend before the Pittsburgh staff determines when he might resume playing.
• Starter James McDonald fired four innings of one-hit ball in Thursday's 4-2 loss to the Rays, but his best moment may have been joining the Pickoff Brigade with his first-inning pickoff at first of Tampa Bay speedster Desmond Jennings. A.J. Burnett and Gerrit Cole both picked off runners in previous contests, which reflects the Pirates' new emphasis on controlling the running game.
• Russell Martin, likely to make his first appearance behind the plate in 13 days in Saturday's game against the Twins, may not be the only Pirates player to surface on the field this weekend.
Brandon Inge (shoulder surgery in September) credits "a very good throwing program they've had me on" for being ready to see some action at third base. Inge has DH'd five times and is 3-for-12 with a walk in spring.
• Charlie Morton is scheduled to pitch live batting practice on Sunday, his first time throwing to batters on the road back from Tommy John surgery in June.
"I'm looking forward to getting [the batters'] feedback. Otherwise, I plan to just throw nice and easy, continue what I've been doing in bullpens," Morton said. "I won't be out there trying to impress anybody."
• Jeff Karstens (biceps tendinitis) will move one step closer to game action when he pitches two more simulated innings on Friday in Pirate City.
"I could've gone out there today. I just didn't want it to escalate into anything more serious. I'll take it easy the next few days, then I'm sure I'll be fine. It feels good, just a little tightness."
--Jones, on the left-side tightness in his oblique area that got him scratched from Thursday's starting lineup
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.