By Rob Biertempfel
BRADENTON, Fla. — It’s almost always a good interview when John Jaso is involved, and our chat a few days ago about walks was no exception. Jaso has a knack for drawing walks and says they’re under-appreciated even by some folks who play the game: “In baseball, there’s a always that ‘tip your cap’ moment, like, ‘Oh, he just happened to hit my really good pitch that I located really well. Just tip your cap to the guy.’ When it comes to the walk, there is no hat-tipping. There’s just frustration and being pissed off at yourself if you’re a pitcher.”
You can read more about how Jaso turns walks into runs by picking up a copy of today’s Trib (or simply by clicking the link below). As I wrapped up the interview, I mentioned how coaches from Little League on up always insist that “a walk is as good as a hit.” Jaso paused and tossed out an exception to that rule: “It doesn’t apply to slow-pitch softball, though.”
>>> UPDATE 9:47 a.m. — A few quick takes from GM Neal Huntington’s weekly media scrum:
Jung Ho Kang’s status: Still waiting on the visa process. He continues to work out and work hard on his own. The challenge is, he’s in the cold-weather city. We continue to stay in touch with him. He’s doing everything he can do. Until we get him here, until we get a real good feel for where he’s at baseball-wise and what the next steps are … He’s going to need a spring training, probably not as long as spring training typically is. He’s going to need some work, some game at-bats. We can set up some sim games, we can set up a lot of at-bats for him in a short period of time. But it’s hard to say until we get him here.
Marte’s gimpy ankle in WBC: “We’ve been in complete contact with the medical staff out there about where his ankle is at this point in time. It will be good to get our hands on him and progress him as we feel is appropriate from here on out. … It’s a matter of he’s got an ankle sprain and it’s going to be something that takes time. They’ve done everything they can do out there. We’ll do everything we can do once he gets back.”
Chad Kuhl practically a lock for the rotation: “Kuhl has been on the inside track, and I’ve acknowledged that from (the start of) camp. He’s continued to throw the ball well. Yeah, I think it’s easy to acknowledge that he continues to be on the inside track.”
Josh Bell’s defense: “Progressing. There’s still work to go. Some guys make it look easy — Sean Rodriguez and, actually, John Jaso. Some guys it’s more of a challenge. When a guy has played away from the ball that long to now come in and try to do something he’s doing at the hardest level, it is a challenge. The routine play is becoming routine, and that’s the most important part of it. He wants to be a capable first baseman, and he’s working toward that.”
>>> You want links? I’ve got links:
Walks are cool. Walks can be weapons. John Jaso is the Chuck Norris of walks.
This headline on this notebook is a bit misleading. Actually, Glasnow was rather sharp yesterday.
Pirates 13, Phillies 8 … In which Glasnow runs, Jaso walks (of course) and Maikel Franco forgets how to wear his shades
>>> Sunday’s game: Blue Jays at Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. Webcast: pirates.com
Blue Jays:Ezequiel Carrera 9, Gregorio Petit 6, Steve Pearce 3, Justin Smoke DH, Darrell Ceciliani 8, Michael Ohlman 2, Jake Elmore 4, Jose Tabata 7, Jon Berti 5. RHP Mike Bolsinger. Also pitching for Blue Jays: RH Casey Lawrence, RH Lucas Harrell, RH Dominic Leone, RH Bo Schultz
Pirates: Alen Hanson 7, Jordy Mercer 6, Francisco Cervelli 2, David Freese 3, Eric Wood 5, Joey Terdoslavich 9, Gift Ngoepe 4, Danny Ortiz 8, RHP Gerrit Cole 1. Also pitching for Pirates: RH Jared Hughes, LH Antonio Bastardo, LH Tony Watson, RH Daniel Hudson.
>>> Can you spot the two former Pirates in the Jays’ lineup? Tabata is a callup from minor league camp. … This will be Freese’s first appearance at first base this spring. He’s been Steady Eddie at third due to Kang’s misadventures. … Jason Rogers (ankle) has been cleared for full baseball activities and hopes to get some game action soon. … Ivan Nova has ditched the yellow (rust? orange? golden?) and gone back to his natural hair color.
>>> >>> Monday’s game: Pirates at Rays, 1:05 p.m., Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte. Webcast: pirates.com
Pirates: TBA. RHP Jameson Taillon. Also pitching for Pirates: RH Edgar Santana, LH Wade LeBlanc. Rays: Lineup TBA. RHP Jake Odorizzi. Also pitching for Rays: RH Shawn Tolleson, RH David Carpenter, RH Andrew Kittredge
>>> Tuesday’s game: Rays at Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM. Rays: Lineup TBA. Also pitching for Rays: TBA. Pirates: TBA. RHP Chad Kuhl. Also pitching for Pirates: TBA
>>> Wednesday: Off day.
Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.