Pirates A.M. — The Candyman is in camp


CandyHurdleBy Rob Biertempfel

BRADENTON, Fla. — John Candelaria and Rennie Stennett are newcomers this year among the crew of former Pirates players who serve as special instructors during big league spring training camp.

Candelaria, 63, pitched 19 seasons in the majors. He amassed 124 wins with the Pirates from 1975 (his rookie season) to 1985 (when he was traded to the Angels). He spent his final five seasons working mostly as a reliever, including a 24-outing stint with the Pirates in 1993 (his final season).

Candelaria is scheduled to help pitching coach Ray Searage evaluate bullpens this morning. All the big guns — including Gerrit Cole, Ivan Nova, Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, Tony Watson and Felipe Rivero — will throw.

Stennett, 65, played for the Pirates from 1971 (rookie year) to 1979. He spent his final two seasons with the Giants.

The other special instructors this year are Bill Mazeroski, Bill Virdon, Kent Tekulve, Mike LaValliere, Steve Blass, Manny Sanguillen and Omar Moreno.

>>> The trade that brought Phil Gosselin to the Pirates also brought him closer to home. Gosselin grew up in Malvern, about a half-hour outside of Philadelphia.

“It’s across the state, but still a lot closer than Arizona,” Gosselin said. “I grew up a Phillies fan … and the Flyers.”

Uh oh. Will Gosselin be OK with donning a black-and-gold jersey if manager Clint Hurdle schedules another Penguins-themed road trip?

“I might have to, but my buddies back home might not be happy with me,” Gosselin said with a laugh.

A four-year veteran, Gosselin said the management hasn’t yet given him a specific plan for his role if he makes the team. He can play second, third, short, first and left field.

“I’m open to playing anywhere,” Gosselin said. “I kind of like that role, bouncing around. It’s fun. It’s something different every day, so I’m ready for whatever they throw at me. I’m excited for the opportunity here. It seems like a great organization.”

>>> UPDATE 10:46 a.m. — Third baseman Jung Ho Kang will miss the start of spring training camp due to his trial for driving under the influence in South Korea, team president Frank Coonelly confirmed on Tuesday.

Pitchers and catchers held their first workout on Tuesday morning. The first full-squad workout is set for Friday.

Kang faces charges after a DUI incident on Dec. 2 near Seoul. His trail is set for Feb. 22.

“It is not known how long the trial will last or when any sentencing phase that might be necessary would be scheduled,” Coonelly said in a prepared statement. “We will continue to do whatever we can to assist he and his representatives in their efforts to resolve all necessary matters so that Jung Ho will be able to travel to the United States to prepare for and to play in the 2017 season, but his reporting date remains undetermined.”

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.