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It’s a full house at Pirate City


BRADENTON, Fla. — All 66 players invited to big league camp are present and accounted for. The final cluster of position players checked in to Pirates City about a half-hour ago, and it looks as if everyone will participate in today’s workout.

Andrew McCutchen and Lastings Milledge arrived together, and the mood in the clubhouse immediately turned from sleepy to bubbly. The M&M Guys have a way of doing that. Amazing — McCutchen has only 123 days of big league experience, but it’s clear this is fast becoming his team.

Ryan Doumit and Brendan Donnelly are, to use Doumit’s term, the “crusty old veterans” in the clubhouse, and will be fountains of information and stability for the younger fellas. But the M&M Guys, along with Octavio Dotel, will be the team’s throbbing pulse. Should be a good mix.

– Ramon Vazquez came off the field after an early workout and said his surgically repaired right knee is feeling great. Vazquez is taking grounders hit straight at him and ran 80 percent-speed sprints on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tuesday, he’ll try hitting live batting practice for the first time this spring.

– I’ve been asked if manager John Russell’s proclamation yesterday that he isn’t ready to name an Opening Day starter is a vote of no-confidence for Paul Maholm. I do not believe that to be the case. Russell thinks naming a starter now would be just another distraction.

Despite JR’s claims to the contrary, I’d gotta think he and Joe Kerrigan have a plan laid out for who pitches when this spring, and that obviously will impact who starts against the Dodgers on April 5 in Pittsburgh. If I had to lay a dollar on it today, I’d say either Maholm or Zach Duke, who’s coming off an All-Star season, will be on the mound.



  1. […] Bradenton, as the club got a bit of a head start before the first official full workout tomorrow. The headline arrival was that of the dreaded 2/3 of Pittsburgh’s outfield: Andrew McCutchen and Lastings Milledge arrived together, and the mood in the clubhouse immediately […]

  2. Lance Schaffer says:

    Both Maholm & Duke are career under-500 pitchers..Neither one should
    be the opening day starter. Russ Ohlendorf is the Bucs best hurler. Give
    me a couple of plus 500 seasons in a row before being expected to be an
    opening day roster.


  3. Bill Maloni says:

    I don’t care how well they perform this spring, this would be a much more exciting team to watch if Alvarez and Tabata came north and started for the Bucs.

    But, that won’t happen because of the dreaded major league clock that would start running on these two players. We can’t have that.

    No, instead we will watch (after Jones takes back First Base) LaRoche at Third and “Who Knows” playing Right, where the kids should be.

    (No, I don’t think Clement will surprise and wrest IB from Jones.)

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