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Updated: February 25, 2017
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(Story by Marco Stoovelaar; Photos by Henk Seppen & Freek Bouw/Phrake Photography)

Daniel Arribas & Chris Pieters make Spring Training-debut

BRADENTON / FORT MYERS / KISSIMMEE, Florida / SCOTTSDALE / TEMPE, Arizona (USA) - Two players from the Netherlands made their debut in a Major League Spring Training-game on Saturday-afternoon (February 25). First baseman Daniel Arribas was assigned to a split-squad of the Pittsburgh Pirates and played against the Baltimore Orioles. Chris Pieters, also a first baseman, was added to one of the split-squads of the Chicago Cubs and got into action against the San Francisco Giants. Both were assigned for the Major League Spring Training-game earlier in the day by their organization.

At Fort Myers, Boston Red Sox won 8-7 against Minnesota Twins. The BoSox trailed 7-2 halfway the fourth inning, but then scored three runs. By scoring runs in the fifth and sixth inning, Boston came alongside, then scored what would be the winning run in the eighth. Xander Bogaerts started as short stop for Boston and was 1-for-3. He singled in the third inning, but then, a double play followed. He also struckout once.

At Tempe, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim opened its Spring Training-season with a 2-0 win against Milwaukee Brewers. The Angels scored their runs in the third and seventh inning. Andrelton Simmons started as short stop for the Angels and was the lead-off hitter. He was 0-for-3 and struckout once.

At Kissimmee, Atlanta Braves won 7-4 against Toronto Blue Jays. In this game, former Cuban National Team-player Lourdes Gurriel made his debut for Toronto, who signed him in November. The 23-year old Gurriel was 0-for-2. His 32-year old brother Yulieski Gurriel made his Major League-debut last year, playing in 36 games for Houston Astros. He batted .262 with three homeruns.

(February 25)

Related Articles:
Didi Gregorius homers in first Spring Training at bat. (February 24)
Xander Bogaerts first Dutch player in Spring Training-action. (February 23)

Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Baltimore Orioles
The 24-year old Daniel Arribas primarily is a catcher, but played at first base, third base and in the outfield last season. He mostly was used as first baseman in his professional career that began in 2011. After being signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Arribas made his debut in 2011 playing in the Rookie League-team of Pittsburgh in the Dominican Republic. He then batted .200 in 48 games.

Arribas also played at the Rookie League-level in 2012, 2013 and 2014, but also played in the Australian Baseball League in the winter of 2013-2014. In 2015, Arribas promoted to the Short Season Single-A team of the Pirates, then played in Single-A last season. With West Virginia Power, Arribas then had his best season so far. He played in 127 games last year and batted .256. While his batting average was lower than in the previous two seasons, Arribas had career highs in doubles (20), triples (4), homeruns (11), runs scored (54), basehits (109) and runs batted in (49).

On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Pirates had made two split-squads to play two games. One squad played against the Tampa Bay Rays, the other squad played at its home site against the Baltimore Orioles.

Arribas made his debut in the game against the Orioles. In his Spring Training-debut, Arribas was 1-for-2 and scored a run. Pittsburgh won the game with a 6-2 score.

The game was played at LECOM Park, which is the new name of the Spring Training-stadium of the Pirates in Bradenton. The stadium was known as McKechnie Field since 1962 in honor of former Pirates-player and Manager Bill McKechnie, who passed away in 1965. Earlier this month, the Pirates announced that is had come to a 15-year naming right of the stadium with Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), which is America's largest medical college with campuses in Erie, Greensburg (both Pennsylvania) and in Bradenton. Pennsylvania is the home-state of the Pittsburgh Pirates. At the same time, it was decided to name its renovated clubhouse into Bill McKechnie Home Clubhouse. Bradenton is Pittsburgh's Spring Training-site since 1969.

...Danny Arribas played for the...
...Netherlands National Team in 2012... the St. Petersburg Tournament...
(© Photo: Henk Seppen)
Pittsburgh opened the score in the first inning on a 2-out single by Gregory Polanco. Baltimore came alongside in the top of the fourth when Adam Jones led off with a double and scored on a single by Anthony Santander.

Pittsburgh re-took the lead in the bottom of the fourth via a sacrifice fly by Alen Hanson, then added a run in the fifth when Polanco again delivered a runscoring single.

In the top of the sixth inning, Arribas entered the game as new first baseman, replacing Jason Rogers. He then led off the bottom of the sixth, but grounded out.

In the eighth, with two outs, Arribas got his second at bat and this time, he singled. Hereafter, Chris Bostick and Jin-De Jhang hit back-to-back homeruns to lift the lead to 6-1.

Baltimore scored its second run in the top of the ninth on a force play-grounder by Robert Andino.

In this game, Jonathan Schoop played in his first Spring Training-game for the Orioles. He started at second base and was 1-for-3. With one out in the second inning, Schoop doubled and advanced on a single by Chris Johnson, but pitcher Trevor Williams then struckout the next two batters. Schoop struckout in the fourth and flied out in the top of the sixth, before being replaced.

Arribas, who was born in Miami (Florida), made his debut in the Netherlands National Baseball Team during the St. Petersburg International Tournament in Florida in 2012. Later that year, he participated with the Orange squad in the European Championship. The Netherlands then lost the Final in Rotterdam (Netherlands) against Italy. Arribas also played for the national team during the trainingcamp in Arizona in 2013 while preparing for the World Baseball Classic.

San Francisco Giants vs. Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs, who won their first World Series-title in 108 years last season, also played with two split-squads today. One played at home in Mesa against and won 4-3 against Oakland Athletics. The other squad traveled to Scotssdale to play against San Francisco Giants and it was in this game that Chris Pieters made his debut. The Giants won 8-6.

The 22-year old Pieters was born on Curaçao and made his professional debut in 2012 playing in the Dominican Republic-based Rookie League-team of Chicago Cubs. In his first three professional seasons, Pieter initially was a pitcher. In those seasons, the lefthander pitched in Rookie League and was 4-11, throwing in 51 games (11 as a starter).

...Chris Pieters made his Spring Training-debut...
...with the Chicago Cubs...
(© Photo: Freek Bouw/Prake Photography)
Since 2015, Pieters hasn't pitched anymore. Instead, he was used as a first baseman and sometimes played in the outfield. In his first non-pitching season, Pieters played in 62 games and batted .302 with 65 basehits, including 13 doubles and three homeruns. He scored 44 runs and batted in 39.

Last season, the lefthanded hitting Pieters promoted to Single-A Short Season and batted .246, playing for Eugene Emeralds. He again showed his offensive talents and collected 62 basehits, including three homeruns, scored 35 runs and batted in 30.

At Scottsdale Stadium, Chicago led 3-0 halfway the fifth inning, but San Francisco then came alongside. In the sixth, the Giants rallied for four runs to increase the lead to 7-3. The rally was highlighted by a 3-run homerun from South Korean Jae-gyun Hwang. Chicago got two runs back in the top of the eighth inning, but the Giants added an insurance run in the bottom of this at bat.

Trailing 8-5 in the top of the ninth inning, Chris Pieters entered the game as pinch-hitter for Mark Zagunis and led off against new pitcher Hunter Strickland. Pieters grounded out to second baseman Juniel Querecuto. Later in the at bat, Victor Caratini delivered an RBI-double to make it an 8-6 score. And that also was the final score. Chicago outhit the Giants 12-9.

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