Things could get interesting


BRADENTON, Fla. — It’s already been a newsier-than-usual camp for the Pirates, with the AJ Burnett trade and Andrew McCutchen’s new contract. But we’re about to transition to the stretch of spring training when things will heat up in both Florida and Arizona, and that could affect who stays on and who goes off the Pirates’ roster.

“The first two to three weeks of spring training, it’s almost a true inventory of what you have,” GM Neal Huntington said. “It’s actually one of the quieter times. The next week or so is when trade conversations will start, guys are out of options, there are extra players for whatever reason (such as) somebody stepped forward for another team and now player ‘X’ becomes available so the conversations start up. Just different cycles.”

»»» Jim Duquette and Mike Ferin from MLB Network Radio on XM will broadcast from McKechnie Field from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. Also, my bud Ken Laird of TribLive Radio is broadcasting from the bullpen at McKechnie from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can listen to Ken chat with Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker and others here.

»»» Tom Prince will receive the Chuck Tanner “We Are Fam-a-lee” Fund Award before this afternoon’s game. Prince is the club’s minor league hitting coordinator and manager of rookie league Bradenton. The award is given annually to a minor league staffer who best exemplifies Tanner’s optimism, enthusiasm, work ethic and leadership.

»»» Not to jinx it, but … Pirates starters have tossed eight scoreless innings over the past three games and have been charged with just one earned run in their past 17.2 innings. Don’t forget, the starters are only working two or three innings per game at this point.

»»» Tuesday is the first of two off days this spring for the Pirates. It’s also an off day for me, as I’ll be flying back to Pittsburgh to spend a few days with my family. I’ll leave y’nz in the more-than-capable hands of Dejan Kovacevic. Be sure to follow his blog and tweets (@Dejan_Kovacevic) the next week or so.

»»» Wednesday, James McDonald will start against the Orioles and righty Jake Arietta. Jason Grilli, Evan Meek, Jared Hughes and Shairon Martis also are scheduled to pitch for the Pirates.

Spring game No. 10: Phillies v. Pirates, 1:05 p.m., Bradenton, Fla.

Pirates (3-6): 1. Alex Presley lf, 2. Nate McLouth rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Casey McGehee 1b, 6. Garrett Jones dh, 7. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 8. Clint Barmes ss, 9. Eric Fryer c, Charlie Morton rhp

Also scheduled to pitch: Brad Lincoln, Kyle McPherson, Juan Cruz and Ryota Igarashi.

Phillies (4-5): 1. Jimmy Rollins ss, 2. Juan Pierre lf, 3. Shane Victorino dh, 4. Laynce Nix 1b, 5. Carlos Ruiz c, 6. Scott Podsednik rf, 7. Tyson Gillies cf, 8. Pete Orr 3b, 9. Michael Martinez 2b. Vance Worley rhp

Pirates v. Netherlands, 1:05 p.m., St. Petersburg, Fla.

Pirates: 1. Robbie Grossman cf, 2. Josh Harrison ss, 3. Jeff Clement 1b, 4. Nick Evans 3b, 5. Brandon Boggs rf, 6. Jake Fox lf, 7. Anderson Hernandez 2b, 8. Michael McKenry c, 9. Jeff Karstens rhp

Also scheduled to pitch: Daniel McCutchen, Jeff Locke and Rudy Owens