The Pirates will face the State College of Florida on Friday. Here is the starting lineup for the Bucs:
Corey Wimberly 2b, Chase d’Arnaud ss, Steve Pearce 1b, John Bowker lf, Josh Fields dh, Andy Marte 3b, Andrew Lambo rf, Gorkys Hernandez cf, Wyatt Toregas c.
lhp Aaron Thompson will start and pitch the first inning.
(Photo via @EvanDrellich)
- Steve Pearce has been getting workouts at third base this year. During the 2010 season, Pearce played five games at third with the Triple-A Indians –the only time he’s played that position since college.
Pearce has been working out at third, right field and first base to become a more utility guy in hopes of making the Pirates roster.
“It definitely is a boost because they see it,” Pearce said. “They see how hard I work. They see I have good hands and footwork. For me, being a guy who’s been in Triple-A in parts of the past four years, this gives me a better chance to stick in the big leagues.”
“It’s been an easy transition because I played (third) in college,” Pearce said. “I’m comfortable over there. I just have to get my reps so it becomes a little bit easier getting reads on hops and stuff like that.”
- Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated and MLB Network reports that the Pirates offered Carl Pavano two years/ $13 million this offseason before he decided to re-sign with the Minnesota Twins.
Charlie Morton will be starting on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays David Price in Port Charlotte in the Grapefruit league opener. Morton will pitch two innings, followed by Brad Lincoln who will also pitch two innings.
This gives the staff a good look at both starters who are in the running for the 5th spot in the rotation.
They will be followed by Chris Resop, Daniel Moskos, Daniel McCutchen and Justin Thomas/Cesar Valdez
- Kevin Correia will start at McKechnie Field on Sunday against James Shields.
- On Monday it is a split squad; Bryan Morris will start for the Pirates against the Rays in Port Charlotte. The Bucs will face the Baltimore Orioles in Bradenton but the starters have not yet been announced.
- Jose Ascanio missed workouts again on Wednesday with tightness in his right elbow. He’s listed as day-to-day.
- Scott Olsen threw on flat ground. He is still sidelined with a left hamstring strain.
- Thursday will be the last workout held at Pirate City. Camp will be relocated to McKechnie Field.
“We still have much work to do,” Hurdle said. “But at this point, we’ve covered what we wanted to cover.” Hurdle said more team fundamentals and specialty defenses will be added to the mix in the next few days. We’ll be ready to roll on Saturday.”
- Pitchers threw a session of live batting practice to the players on Wednesday. They included: Jeff Karstens, Charlie Morton, Daniel Moskos, Sean Gallagher, Brad Lincoln and Brian Burres.
- Manager Clint Hurdle is very happy with what he’s seen so far from the Pirates four locked starters Kevin Correia, Ross Ohlendorf, James McDonald and Paul Maholm.
“I’m seeing the things that I want to see out of the guys that we already have lined up in the starting rotation,” Hurdle said. “There are a number of other guys who are throwing well through this period. They are all working extremely hard. That’s the thing I’m most optimistic about.”
Baseball America released its list of Top 100 prospects on Wednesday. Three Pirates made the list: Jameson Taillon (No. 11), Tony Sanchez (No. 46) and Stetson Allie (No. 79) .
Lyle Overbay takes part in the annual sliding drill (photo BucsInsider)
- The Tampa Bay Rays Manager Joe Madden announced that David Price will start on the home opener against the Pirates on Saturday. Manager Clint Hurdle has not announced who will start for the Bucs yet.
- MLB Network will be airing three spring training games.
Sun March 6 Blue Jays vs. Pirates
Thursday March 10 Orioles vs. Pirates
Mon March 28 Pirates vs. Twins
- Pedro Alvarez, who missed Monday’s workouts due to necks spasms, was at workouts on Tuesday. He took swings and participated in defensive drills.
- The Pirates will use seven pitchers for one inning a piece in during the game on Saturday against State College of Florida. They are as followed: Aaron Thompson, Tyler Yates, Jeff Locke, Mike Crotta, Justin Wilson, Kyle McPherson and Rudy Owens.
The workouts ran 15 minutes longer than usual, according to Rob Biertmepfel of the Trib.
“The only way to increase stamina is to work when you’re a little bit fatigued,” Hurdle said. “That’s how marathon runners work. You’ve got to run to a distance you haven’t run before. One of the separators at the major league level during a game is finding a way to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It’s something you spend a lot of time with in a game. How many times in a game do you go to the plate where you’re locked in, the ball’s big and your swing’s right? We need to push them. Where we want to go is going to take work. It’s not going to take putting a couple hours in and going through a traditional routine.”
- The position players worked on hit and runs on Tuesday, while the catchers took practice blocking balls in the dirt.
- Pitchers and position players worked on signs and stolen base attempts.
- The players continued to work on base running drills at Camp Hurdle –a huge focus this year. Hurdle also emphasized runners going from first to third base on singles.
“Our goal is to be the best in the National League at this,” coach Nick Leyva said.
- Tyler Yates will throw a supervised side session to pitching coach Ray Searage on Wednesday. Yates did not throw live batting practice to the players this week.
“I want to work on him again and make sure that he feels comfortable mechanically,” Searage said. “This is my call. He’s ready to go. He would probably get something out of the BP, but I think I can get more out of working with him on the sideline.”
- Jose Ascanio is sidelined with a tight right elbow. The discomfort came a day after throwing his bullpen session on Monday. His status is day-to-day.
Matt Diaz swinging in the cage. Chris Snyder watches on beautiful day in Bradenton, Fl. (photos via @Colin_Dunlap)
Pedro Alvarez, along with other Pirates players practicing drills.
Third Baseman Pedro Alvarez missed workouts on Monday due to a muscle spasm in his neck.
“I started feeling it after practice (Sunday),” said Alvarez.
Alvarez is listed as day-to-day.
- With Pedro sidelined, Garrett Atkins filled in at third base with the rest of the starting infielders.
- Scott Olsen is showing promising sings on his left hamstring strain. He threw long toss on Monday and didn’t have any discomfort during the session.
“We’re still working through Scott on a daily basis, and we’ll let you know in a couple days where he is,” general manager Neal Huntington said, when asked about how Olsen is progressing.
Olsen’s injury impacts Charlie Morton, who is now the favored fifth starter. Manager Clint Hurdle discussed Morton briefly on Monday.
“I don’t think there is any doubt he has learned some things. He’s another guy who has taken ownership of poor performance. He knows what he’s capable of. What I’m encouraged by in what I’ve seen from Charlie is he’s honestly self-evaluating. He has visited the places where he could maybe have done better in some situations. From here on in, it’s taking the actions.”
- The Pirates will be facing Ryan Depster on opening day against the Chicago. The Cubs announced on Monday that he would get the starting nod.
- Ex-Bucco Dick Groat will be inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
- Pirates owner Bob Nutting addressed the media on Monday. Here are a few things he said. You can read the full story here.
On the message he gave to the team: “The real message this year was that there is a change in level of expectations. It’s critically important that they understand, and we all understand, that 2011 is not going to be a year where small bits of incremental progress are adequate. I reminded them that the goal of the organization has been, since the day I got started, to build an organization that can compete and win a championship. Until we can win a National League Championship, we’re not going to be satisfied with incremental progress. It’s critically important that they understand that up front, that they understand I have faith in them. The level of expectation is very high.”
On initial observations from Spring Training: “There is no question that what you do see is a commitment to each other and the energy and enthusiasm and the belief that Clint and the rest of the team … combining to give every opportunity to these kids not only to perform up to their level, which we arguably did not do last year, but to exceed an achieve something great.”
On if he feels the outlook is better this year than when he’s addressed the team at Spring Training in the past: “I’m extremely enthusiastic about 2011. I really believe we significantly underperformed last year. And we know that. We’ve turned the page and it doesn’t do any good to go back and beat ourselves on that. But we’ve addressed the issues that most held us back and are ready to move forward, I think, in a much better position.”
- Pitchers will resume throwing live batting practice sessions on Tuesday (Group 1) and Wednesday (Group 2) after having Monday off from throwing.
- All of the position players worked on relay throws and cut offs on Monday.
- The players and coaches attended a Major League Baseball Umpires Meeting following the day’s workouts.
- The catchers had to deal with strong winds during the pop up drills on Monday. All seven of the catchers participated and despite mother nature, not many balls dropped. Minor League manager Tom Prince was pleased with the results.
Where is it? Jason Jaramillo does popup drills on windy day @ Pirates ST camp (photo via @RobBiertempfel)
listen to the best Pirates talk here
Joe Beimel may be back in Pittsburgh for his second stint in his career, but he insists he is a much different pitcher now.
“I’m way different now than I was before,” Beimel said. “I’m much wiser.”
“When I was here the first time, I don’t think I was very good because now, looking back on it, I don’t know what kind of pitcher I was at the time,” said Beimel, who pitched in 164 games with the Pirates between 2001-03. “I was out there trying to strike guys out, wasn’t throwing strikes. I just watched some of those old tapes and, you know, it really made me sick. … I’m not that pitcher anymore.”
Beimel has previously pitched with the Twins, Rays, Dodgers, Nationals and Rockies during his 10 year career.
Manager Clint Hurdle will be using the lefty as a bridge between the starters and the late innings of the bullpen reserved for Evan Meek and closer Joel Hanrahan.
“I’m very strong against left-handed hitters and I can get right-handers out, too,” said Beimel, who has a career 4.16 ERA. “I think, with me, sometimes I get pigeonholed into being a left-handed specialist. I don’t like that, because you are only working one side of the plate. … I am very confident that I can face both and get both out, and I think that is the opportunity they are going to give me here.”
- Pirates owner Bob Nutting arrived in Bradenton, Fl. On Saturday night and was spotted at Pirate City On Sunday. He will be in town for two weeks.
- Sunday was photo day for the players. The pictures are used for baseball cards to media outlets. You can see a lot of pictures here at Yahoo! Sports
- The players worked on run down drills on Sunday. The outfielders played as baserunners and the pitchers joined the infielders to mimic pickoffs and rundowns.
They also worked on baserunning drills –a huge emphasis during Camp Hurdle.
The Pitchers worked on bunting and slug bunting.
- Group two of the Pirates pitching threw live batting practice on Sunday. They included: Charlie Morton, Tony Watson, Jeff Karstens, Chris Resop, Brad Lincoln, Chris Leroux, Brian Burres, Daniel McCutchen, Sean Gallagher, Cesar Valdez, Daniel Moskos, Tyler Yates, Justin Thomas, Ramon Aguero, Fernando Nieve and Bryan Morris.
- Manager Clint Hurdle spent time after practice talking about outfielder Corey Wimberly who will be fighting for a bench spot.
“This could be Corey’s time. That’s why we went out and got him. We had talked him in a couple different avenues over the winter and then we were able to make a trade for him. To his credit, delay doesn’t mean denial. He has persevered. He hasn’t taken feeling being passed over on the field with him. He’s continued to go out and do what he needs to do to make himself attractive to whatever organization has him.”
- Jeff Karstens will be filling many different roles for the Pirates this season. Although he won’t be competing for the 5th spot in the rotation, Karstens is the favorite to be called upon for long relief or to spot start.
“He matured greatly last year, and I hope he continues to do that this year because he has a good instinct when he’s out there on the mound,” pitching coach Ray Searage said. “The beauty of Jeff is he can do multiple roles and he knows what those roles entail.”
- In the last several months Tyler Yates has rediscovered his changeup, a pitch he lost when he moved from starter to reliever (only needing the two best pitches).
“I think I’ve learned by watching other pitchers with less stuff than I have get people out and I’m like, ‘How do they do it?’ ” Yates said. “You start watching them and you see that they sink the ball a little bit more, cut the ball a little bit more, change speeds better. It’s something that I’d like to add to my repertoire, so I won’t have to throw the ball 96 mph every time out there.”
Yates is also looking to add a cutter to his repertoire, which would give him five pitches (fastball, sinker and slider are the others).
“If I can add (the change and cutter), it would give me longevity in my career,” he said. “At 33 years old, I’m trying to get everything I can out of it.”
A shot of a beautiful day in Bradenton (photo via @Colin_Dunlap)
Listen to the best Pirates talk here
Former Bucs Manager John Russell spent six years in Pittsburgh . He endured some of the worst seasons in Pirates history, including a 105-loss 2010 season. He made coaching gaffe’s that sometimes made you scratch your head. He was often criticized for his lack of emotions both on the field and with the players. But despite the blowouts and the base running mistakes, Russell has no regrets.
“I’ll never forget my (six) years in Pittsburgh as a coach and manager. It’s a great city with great fans. I’ll never regret it. I wish I could still be there as a manager. But I’m very happy where I am now. I’m looking forward to this season and what the future holds for me.”
“I thought the last quarter of the (2010) season we played pretty good baseball,” Russell said. “Guys started to come on a little bit. I thought it was very much headed the right way. But you can’t negate the losses.”
Just three weeks after being fired by the Pirates, Russell was hired by the Baltimore Orioles as their third base coach and catching instructor.
The Bucs and Orioles face each other five times during spring training, as well as a interleague series this season.
“People say to me, ‘Oh, you probably don’t want to go back there,’ ” Russell said. “It doesn’t affect me. It was a part of my career that I’ll always remember and cherish. I have a lot of friends over there.”
Russell also believes the Pirates can turn thing around and end those consecutive losing seasons.
“There’s hope for any franchise,” Russell said. “The biggest thing is patience, and that’s tough in Pittsburgh because of the number of years they haven’t won.”
If he could do it all over again, would he second guess anything?
“You can always second-guess,” he said. “But you have to believe in what you do. That’s the way I tried to approach it every day in Pittsburgh. I tried to do what’s right not only for the players but for the organization to make sure we stayed on track with the major plan. We knew it was going to be tough. We knew we were going to have to be patient to make it work. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for me.”
General Manager Neal Huntington’s contract ends after the 2011 season. President Frank Coonelly discussed the status of Huntington and if he would be around for years to come.
“He’s under contract for this season, and it’s our expectation that Neal will be here for a long time,” Coonelly said. “We’ll continue to evaluate it as we go forward.”
On his expectations for the season: “I expect to see us compete. We’re all about doing. As Clint said to the guys in there today, trying hard isn’t good enough. This is a doing league and it’s time for us to start doing.”
On if there is an expectation that the record improves: “I sure hope so. I think that we’re poised to make a significant improvement. We don’t want to put any limits on ourselves in terms of putting a number out there. We don’t want to be limited by a number or a thought on February 19. The expectations with the club better be championship expectations. Then we’ll see where we are at the end of the season. I’m confident we’re going to be far better than we’ve been the last several years.”
On his early observations of Camp Hurdle: “Lot of energy. Getting to know the guy. Good quality work. I’m very happy that most of the guys were in early getting work in. Good communication. Clint has the ability to let the players know that he cares about them. But he also expects things to be done right. The few times that I’ve been out here and things weren’t done right, we did it over again. And the players will also know when Clint is not pleased with the work ethic.”
- Manager Clint Hurdle addressed the players on Saturday, the first official full squad workout.
“There will be a group of men that turns this thing around here,” Hurdle said. “It will happen. So why can’t we? Why can’t we be the start? We need to set our bar at the championship level, starting with the execution and a mindset. We’ve got to think that way. We’ve got to act that way.”
“We need to focus forward,” Hurdle said. “We have work to do. We need everybody all in. We talked about trust; that’s something I’m a big believer in. There will be a group of men that turns it around here, so why can ‘t we be the start?”
- The first group of pitchers threw a live session of batting practice to the hitters.
Paul Maholm and Joel Hanrahan pitched to Lyle Overbay and Pedro Alvarez.
Kevin Correia and Evan Meek pitched to Garrett Jones and Neil Walker.
James McDonald, Joe Beimel, Ross Ohlendorf, Jose Veras, Aaron Thompson, Rudy Owens, Kyle McPherson, Justin Wilson, Jeff Locke and Michael Crotta also threw live batting practice.
Each pitcher threw about 15 pitches. They then stepped aside for a bit and threw 15 more.
Group two will throw their live session of batting practice on Sunday.
- Pitcher Paul Maholm tweeted after pitching to BP and said his arm feels great.
“Had a great first full squad workout. Got to throw 35 pitches in live BP to overbay and Alvarez. Feeling better each time off the mound.”
- Hurdle has been focusing a lot on situation hitting and is pleased with the results so far.
“It’s a new process for them,” Hurdle said. “If you want to go somewhere you’ve never been, there’s got to be somebody who asks you do to things you’ve never done. I’m asking them to do some things they might’ve never done. It’s not so much about results daily as the preparation that’s put in and the focus in the drill. Some of the guys haven’t (done) well in the drills and they take it personally. But they understand the reason behind it.”
- Bill Mazerowski arrived at camp on Saturday. The hall-of-famer and eight time gold glove winner helps out at spring training as an infield instructor.
Former Pirates Bill Virdon (outfield) and Manny Sanguillen (catchers) have been there since day one working with the players. Kent Tekulve arrived mid week to help with the pitchers.
- Tyler Yates, who had Tommy John Surgery in 2009, has been throwing since January in Bradenton, FL. Under supervision. The reports are very encouraging and he has had no soreness or pain. Yates will have the opportunity to compete for a spot in the Pirates bullpen –something he almost gave up on. If things can turn around for the right-hander, his perseverance will pay off.
Neil Walker is getting ready to face Kevin Correia right now in batting practice (via @BucsInsider)
Paul Maholm, James McDonald, Kevin Correia and Ross Ohlendorf preparing to face live hitters (via @BucsInsider)
listen to best Pirates talk here