By Rob Biertempfel
CLEARWATER, Fla. — A year ago, Chad Kuhl was one of the new guys in the clubhouse, a rookie trying to fit in. “This spring has been a ton different, just from knowing everybody and knowing my place in the locker room and the expectations,” Kuhl said. “I’m definitely a lot more comfortable, just going about my day and doing the things I need to accomplish.”
The Pirates have not yet officially said Kuhl is in the rotation, but GM Neal Huntington and manager Clint Hurdle have referred to four specific guys — Trevor Williams, Tyler Glasnow, Drew Hutchison and Steven Brault — competing for the final starter’s job. So, essentially, Kuhl is in.
After a solid rookie season, what does Kuhl have planned for an encore in 2017? “Go out and do the same things I’ve been doing,” he said. “I think I’ve progressed, even from last year into this year. The encore is to go a full season, a full, strong, healthy season.”
#Pirates RHP Chad Kuhl in 2016: 5-4, 4.20 ERA in 14 starts. Chad Kuhl in 2017:
— Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) March 25, 2017
>>> You want links? I’ve got links:
Kuhl says, “I think people have kind of figured out that I’m a little fiery when I pitch.”
Notebook … in which Glasnow learns, Polanco sits and Stewie hopes
Pirates 5, Tigers 4: Late home runs power comeback win.
>>> Sunday’s game: Pirates at Phillies, 1:05 p.m., Spectrum Field, Clearwater. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: Jordy Mercer 6, Josh Bell 3, David Freese 5, John Jaso 9, Jose Osuna 7, Austin Meadows 8, Gift Ngoepe 4, Jackson Williams 2, RHP Josh Lindblom 1. Also pitching for Pirates: LH Wade LeBlanc, RH A.J, Schugel, RH Jared Hughes. Also: RHP Jameson Taillon will throw 100 pitches in a minor league game at 1 p..m. at Pirate City.
UPDATE 8:01 a.m. — Francisco Cervelli was a healthy scratch from the lineup this morning.
Phillies. Jesmuel Valentin 4, Howie Kendrick 7, Odubel Herrera 8, Maikel Franco 5, Michael Saunders 9, Daniel Nava 3, Andrew Knapp 2, Freddy Galvis 6, RHP Clay Buchholz. Also pitching for Phillies: RH Hector Neris, RH Luis Garcia, RH Joaquin Benoit
>>> Monday’s game: Twins at Pirates, 6:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Twins: Lineup TBA. RHP Phil Hughes. Also pitching for Twins: LH Buddy Boshers, RH Michael Tonkin, RH J.T. Chargois. Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Ivan Nova. Also pitching for Pirates: LH Felipe Rivero, LH Tyler Webb Also: RHP Chad Kuhl (100 pitches) and LHP Antonio Bastardo (one inning/15 pitches) will pitch in a minor league game at 1 p.m. at Pirate City.
>>> Tuesday’s game: Red Sox at Pirates, 6:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Red Sox: Lineup TBA. Also pitching for Red Sox: TBA. Pirates: Lineup TBA. Also pitching for Pirates: TBA.
>>> Wednesday’s game: Phillies (split squad) at Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. TV: Root. Phillies: Lineup TBA. Also pitching for Phillies: TBA. Pirates: Lineup TBA. Also pitching for Pirates: TBA.
>>> Thursday: Off day
Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.