BRADENTON, Fla. At some big league spring training camps, reporting day is a mere formality. Players arrive in town, move into their apartments and call the team to check in.
However, all the fields at Pirate City were bustling with activity this morning. All 34 pitchers and catchers, including 25 who are on the 40-man roster, checked in. Instead of enjoying a final day off, many of them put in an hour or two of running drills and long toss. Also, several position players, such as infielders Brian Bixler, Andy LaRoche and Pedro Alvarez and outfielder Steve Pearce, worked out under sunny skies.
The entire starting outfield Nate McLouth, Brandon Moss and Nyjer Morgan already is in camp. “Workin’ hard,” grinned Morgan, who will have to hold off a challenge from free-agent signee Eric Hinske. First baseman Adam LaRoche is another early arrival. If LaRoche has another April-May slump, he could lose some at-bats to Hinske.
Paul Maholm, the hardest working pitcher in the game, was on the fields early for his usual, intense workout. Ian Snell was around for the morning session. Zach Duke arrived around lunchtime to drop off his gear.
Pitchers will have their first official workout at noon today. The first full-squad workout is 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Other news and notes:
Left-hander Phil Dumatrait threw his second session this week of long toss from 150 feet. Dumatrait sat out minicamp last month after have another setback in his surgically repaired shoulder. “It’s frustrating because this was supposed to be a minor (injury), but it’s taking so long,” Dumatrait said. There is no timetable for when Dumatrait will throw from a mound. He likely will begin the season in the bullpen.
Alvarez, who reportedly came to minicamp out of shape, did not appear to be bulky during today’s workout.
I got a sneak peek at the Pirates’ new media guide, which reveals manager John Russell is signed through the end of this season with a club option for 2010.
Catcher Jason Jaramillo, who arrived Dec. 10 in a trade for Ronny Paulino, has made a smooth transition to his new clubhouse. Jaramillo’s locker is next to those of Bixler and Andy LaRoche, two of his former teammates on Team USA in the 2007 World Cup. “It helps, coming in and knowing guys right away,” Jaramillo said.