BRADENTON, Fla. — The game today against the Orioles marks a return to McKechnie Field by former manager John Russell, who’s now the O’s third base coach. The Pirates fired Russell the day after the 2010 season ended.
The Orioles have just about finished their batting practice, but Russell and manager Buck Showalter haven’t yet arrived at the field. They stayed behind at the O’s complex in Sarasota to oversee workouts for the players who didn’t make the trip here.
Showalter and Russell are expected to get to McKechnie about 10-15 minutes before game time. A couple of weeks ago, I spoke at length with Russell in Sarasota about his past with the Pirates and his new role in Bawl’mer.
This will be the first Grapefruit League game of the season for the Orioles, who yesterday had an intrasquad scrimmage. Their top two free-agent pickups, sluggers Mark Reynolds and Vladimir Guerrero, will make their O’s debuts here today.
»»» Baseball Prospectus today released its list of top 101 prospects. The Pirates are represented by the Big Three pitchers who were acquired last summer — Jameson Taillon is No. 8, Stetson Allie is No. 39, Luis Heredia is No. 81 — and catcher Tony Sanchez, who’s No. 93.