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Pirates A.M. – Bucs still “going to give Alen Hanson opportunities”

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By Chris Adamski

 

BRADENTON, Fla. — Alen Hanson is fast. He has the type of speed that, when you see him run up close in person, it sort of takes your breath away.

 

But, in an analogy I feel comfortable making and might make some sense coming from – does he have Dri Archer speed or Chris Johnson speed?

Hanson
Alen Hanson attempting a tag on… Starling Marte? (Christopher Horner/Tribune-Review photo)

 

“He’s in competition with three or four other guys,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Hanson, who at one point was one of the organization’s top prospects but now finds himself facing an uphill climb just to make the 25-man roster as a bench piece. “And what we’re looking for is dependability out of that position.”

 

Hanson played all five innings of Saturday’s game in Sarasota against the Orioles. He had an error but also showed his range and made a few plays. He also had a double (albeit, his only hit in five at bats).

 

Because of his speed (205 steals in the minors) and versatility (2B, 3B, SS, OF), Hanson potentially could be a valuable reserve for the Pirates this season. But like Hurdle said, he’s kind of stuck in a logjam of players (Adam Frazier, Phil Gosselin, Max Moroff, Gift Ngoepe, Chris Bostick among players on the 40-man roster alone) who play similar positions (not even counting the “starters” and – until a certain somebody arrives stateside – starter-for-now David Freese).

 

In short, there’s far from any guarantees for Hanson, who’s no longer high on the ubiquitous “prospect lists” for the Pirates (and MLB on whole) like he was a few years ago.

 

“We are going to keep giving him opportunities because he can do some things that you like a lot,” Hurdle said. “The versatility can play and can help out. It’s just finding that niche to be a dependable player with the glove. And he’s working hard to become that.”

 

 

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

“It provides us with some flexibility.”

Pirates place Jung Ho Kang on restricted list

 

“He’s someone who can definitely hold down that position when he’s in the lineup.”

Adam Frazier is regularly in the leadoff spot for the Pirates (plus other notes)

 

“He’s fun to watch.”

Ngeope has quite a day in Sarasota; Clay Holmes gets hit, other observations from Saturday’s game

 

 

>>> Sunday’s game: Twins (8-4) at Pirates (11-4), 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. TV: ROOT Sports, Radio: 93.7 The Fan

Twins: J.B. Shuck 8, Eduardo Escobar 6, Ben Paulsen 3, Matt Hague DH, Daniel Palka 7, Drew Stubbs 9, Tommy Field 4, John Ryan Murphy 2, Ehire Adrianza 5. RHP Ryan Vogelsong

Also pitching for Twins: LH Taylor Rogers, RH Nick Tepsch, RH Michael Tonkin

Pirates: Danny Ortiz 8, Jordy Mercer 6, John Jaso 3, David Freese 5, Jose Osuna 9, Chris Stewart 2, Barrett Barnes 7, Chris Bostick 4, RHP Trevor Williams 1.

Also pitching for Pirates: LH Steven Brault, LH Felipe Rivero, LH Tyler Webb, RH Casey Sadler.

 

>>> Monday’s game:  Pirates at Braves (4-10 heading into Sunday’s game), 1:05 p.m., Champion Stadium, Orlando. Radio: 93.7 The Fan

Braves: Lineup TBA. RHP Bartolo Colon

Also pitching for Braves: LH John Danks, RH Jim Johnson, RH Arodys Vizcaino, RH Luke Jackson

Pirates: Lineup TBA.  RHP Tyler Glasnow

Also pitching for Pirates: LH Wade LeBlanc, RH A.J. Schugel, LH Dan Runzler, RH Pat Light, RH Donvydas Nererauskas.

 

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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Pirates A.M. – Bullpen basically set, strong and working to get innings in

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By Chris Adamski

 

BRADENTON, Fla. — Three-quarters of the Pirates’ regular lineup aren’t with the team right now. Two of their three established starting pitchers (Ivan Nova and Jameson Taillon) are throwing simulated games on their own this week.

 

In short, there’s even less star power right now during the Pirates’ Grapefruit League games than there even usually is for spring training.

 

With one notable exception: the bullpen.

 

Friday, Tony Watson, Juan Nicasio and Daniel Hudson pitched against the Rays at LECOM Park. Saturday, Jared Hughes and Antonio Bastardo are scheduled to throw in Sarasota against the Orioles. Add in Felipe Rivero on Thursday, and that’s not only, essentially, the entire Pirates’ bullpen (with an unnamed long man added to that mix – unless the team decides to carry eight relievers early on) – it has the look of what *potentially* could be a very strong major-league bullpen, too.

 

“The bullpen has been tremendous,” pitching coach Ray Searage said. “We’ve got a real good plethora of guys down there – we also have depth, too, which we never really had before. But there’s a lot of influence with Watson and Hudson with everybody else. The two anchors.”

 

Hudson is a nine-year veteran brought on via a two-year, $11 million contract. Watson, of course, is the closer; he’s also (unless the eight-months-older Wade LeBlanc joins the group) the oldest and longest-tenured “Shark” with the Pirates.

 

“The bullpen runs through (Watson),” Rivero said. “He’s like the boss in this bullpen. Everything that he says, we’ve got to pay attention and always execute it, because he’s the guy in the bullpen. The closer is the owner of the bullpen for us.”

 

 

>>> Of note from today’s  lineup are the players attempting to show further position flexibility (to borrow a football term from another North Shore-based leader): Gift Ngoepe is at third base (three career professional regular-season games there). Phil Gosselin is at first base (six career professional regular-season games there).

 

 

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

DN
(Christopher Horner/Tribune-Review photos)

 

“He’s got a cause” – reliever Neverauskas figuratively carries his native flag everyday in effort to become first Lithuanian born-and-raise major leaguer

 

 

 

“He wants to get some things done, wants to re-establish himself at the Hurch
major league level.”
Hutchison making strong case to be the No. 5 starter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

>>> Saturday’s game:  Pirates (11-3) at Orioles (7-6), 1:05 p.m., Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota. Radio: 93.7 The Fan.

Orioles: Lineup TBA. RHP Mike Wright

Also pitching for Orioles:  RH Gabriel Ynoa, RH Darren O’Day, LH Donnie Hart, RH Oliver Drake

Pirates: Adam Frazier 4, Alen Hanson 6, Phil Gosselin 3, Josh Bell DH, Elias Diaz 2, Austin Meadows 8, Danny Ortiz 7, Eury Perez 9, Gift Ngoepe 5.  RHP Clay Holmes.

Also pitching for Pirates: RH Nick Kingham, RH Jared Hughes, LH Antonio Bastardo, RH Josh Lindblom.

Also Saturday, RH Ivan Nova (60-65 pitches) and RH Angel Sanchez (20 pitches) are scheduled to pitch in a minor-league game at Pirate City.

 

 

>>> Sunday’s game: Twins (7-4 heading into Saturday’s games) at Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. TV: ROOT Sports, Radio: 93.7 The Fan

Twins: Lineup TBA. RHP Ryan Vogelsong

Also pitching for Twins: LH Taylor Rogers, RH Nick Tepsch, RH Michael Tonkin

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Trevor Williams

Also pitching for Pirates: LH Steven Brault, LH Felipe Rivero, LH Tyler Webb, RH Casey Sadler.

 

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

 

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Pirates A.M. – Long before Jeromy Burnitz was a lamentable Pirates signing, he was a Williamsport superstar for Hurdle

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By Chris Adamski

BRADENTON, Fla. — ‘Morning, yinz. You’re stuck with me over the next week. It won’t be easy filling the hoes of the talented Mr. Biertempfel, but I’ll try.

 

Anywho… What had been known since the beginning of the week was officially announced Thursday: the Pirates gave up a home game against the rival Cardinals to play in Williamsport on ESPN during the Little League World Series.

 

Tony Watson made his professional debut at Bowman Field, and Jared Hughes made his professional debut playing for the short-season Class A team in Williamsport, the Crosscutters. Others among the 60 other players at major league camp certainly have played at Bowman Field, too.

 

But Clint Hurdle actually managed in Williamsport – the old Bills, then ajeromy burnitz pirates Class AA Mets affiliate – more than a quarter of a century ago (in 1991). The Bills, led by future MLB all-star (and future forgettable Pirate) Jeromy
Burnitz
(he hit 31 home runs in 135 games that season — TWELVE more than anyone else in the Eastern League — AND stole 31 bases — ELEVEN more than any of his peers that season), the Bills went 60-79 and in seventh place among eight teams. (Burnitz, meanwhile, was given $6 million to play 2006 in Pittsburgh, and was out of baseball after those 111 games).

 

Never one to pass up an opportunity to reminisce, Hurdle relayed on some memories from his six months in Billtown (seriously, that’s Williamsport’s nickname).

 

“(Bowman Field) will be in much better shape than when I was there in 1991 – Major League Baseball has guaranteed us that,” Hurdle said. “I lived about 15 miles north of town in Tommy Herr‘s hunting cabin in a little town called Trout Run. I spent a lot of time in Bowman Field. We had left Jackson (Mississippi, the Mets’ Double-A home for the previous 17 seasons), the Binghamton (N.Y.) ballpark (where the Double-A Mets still call home) wasn’t finished yet. We needed to find a free-agent site to play one season, and we found Williamsport and we played in the Eastern League. So I’m very familiar with Bowman Field.

 

“(The MLB Little League Classic game) will be a huge draw. Huge draw. I think it’s going to be a great night for baseball within that venue to reignite the younger kids that are playing in town. The city is electric that time of year anyway. It should be fun.”

 

 

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

“If he’s a secret, he probably won’t be a secret for too long.”

Jose Osuna has been this year’s Babe Ruth of the Grapefruit League

 

Starling Marte injured… in an exhibition… in preparation for the WBC… and against the Pirates, no less. And other refreshing notes…

 

Alen Hanson runs into another out, Chris Bostick takes his shots at CF, Chad Kuhl “feels real good physically” and more from Thursday’s game. Plus, this cool photo of Barett Barnes from Chris Horner:

BB

 

 

>>> Friday’s game: Rays (6-5) at Pirates (10-3), 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. TV: Root, Radio: 93.7.

Pirates: Max Moroff 4, Jordy Mercer 6, Josh Bell 3, David Freese 5, John Jaso 9, Chris Stewart 2, Jose Osuna 7, Eury Perez 8, Hutchison 1.

Also pitching for Pirates: LH Tony Watson, RH Juan Nicasio, RH Daniel Hudson, RH Donvydas Neverauskas, RH Edgar Santana.

Rays: Lineup TBA.

Also pitching for Rays: RH Matt Andriese, RH Jamie Schultz, RH Ryne Stanek, RH Chih-Wei Hu, RH Hunter Wood.

 

>>> Saturday’s game:  Pirates (10-3) at Orioles (7-5), 1:05 p.m., Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota. Radio: 93.7 The Fan.

Orioles: Lineup TBA. RHP Mike Wright

Also pitching for Orioles:  RH Gabriel Ynoa, RH Darren O’Day, LH Donnie Hart, RH Oliver Drake

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Clay Holmes.

Also pitching for Pirates: RH Nick Kingham, RH Jared Hughes, LH Antonio Bastardo, RH Josh Lindblom, LH Dan Runzler.

Also Saturday, RH Ivan Nova (60-65 pitches) and RH Angel Sanchez (20 pitches) are scheduled to pitch in a minor-league game at Pirate City.

 

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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Pirates A.M. — See yinz next week

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By Rob Biertempfel

BRADENTON, Fla. — We’re at the midpoint of spring training, so I’m taking a week’s hiatus from the sunny Gulf Coast. Whilst I’m away, follow Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) for Pirates coverage.

PolancoWBC17>>> Although Gregory Polanco was in the lineup for the Dominican Republic’s pre-WBC games against the Pirates and Orioles, he probably will get limited playing time in the tournament. When Adrian Beltre (who was not in the lineup yesterday vs. the Pirates) is the designated hitter, Nelson Cruz will start in the outfield and push Polanco onto the bench.

If the DR makes a run deep into the tourney, Polanco might go a few days in a row without getting a lot of regular game action. If the DR advances to the title game on March 22, Polanco will get just about a week in Pirates camp before the season opener April 3 vs. the Red Sox. The question is, will that be enough to get Polanco ready for the season?

>>> Pirates 3B prospect Eric Wood went 3 for 4, including two home runs, for Team Canada yesterday vs. the Yankees.

>>> Austin Meadows lugs a plastic gallon jug of water with him everywhere as he moves about the clubhouse each morning, “Just a habit,” Meadows said. “I drink about two gallons of water a day. Using (the jug) makes it easy to know how much I’ve drank.”

>>> UPDATE 11:41 a.m. — The MLB Little League Classic was finalized today when the commissioner’s office announced the Aug 20 game vs. the Cardinals will be moved from PNC Park to BB&T Ballpark at Historic Bowman Field in Williamsport, Pa. The game will be televised on ESPN’s “Sunday Night Baseball.”

If you’ve already bought tickets to the game formerly set for Pittsburgh, you cannot use them in Williamsport. You have a choice to make: request a full refund by March 31 (that’s just 22 days away, for those of you scoring at home) or trigger the “exchange option” — in essence, swap your useless tickets for tickets to any “black” or “white” level home game. With the exchange option, you also get a food/beverage credit equal to the value of your tickets.

The Pirates will remain the home team for the Little League Classic. Also, players from both teams will attend Little League World Series games that day.

By the way, game time for the Aug. 19 game against the Cardinals has been moved to 4:05 p.m. That game will be played at PNC Park.

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

Adamski reports that Polanco and Marte were among the first pieces to fall into place when the DR roster was being assembled.

Tony Pena reminisces about Pirate City, Tyler Glasnow scuffles and Jared Hughes is ready to go back to his roots.

Dominican Republic 10, Pirates 6. The home team’s 4-0 lead slipped away.

>>> Thursday’s game: Pirates at Rays, 1:05 p.m., Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte. Webcast: pirates.com

Pirates: Adam Frazier 6, Alen Hanson 5, Phil Gosselin 4, Jose Osuna 3, Elias Diaz 2, Danny Ortiz 9, Chris Bostick 8, Barrett Barnes 7, RHP Chad Kuhl 1. Also pitching for Pirates: LH Felipe Rivero, RH A.J. Schugel and LH Wade LeBlanc

Rays: Lineup TBA. LHP Blake Snell. Also pitching for Rays: RH Tommy Hunter, RH David Carpenter, RH Ryan Garton, RH Kevin Gadea, LH Justin Marks

>>> Friday’s game: Rays at Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. Radio: 93.7 FM. TV: Root Rays: Lineup TBA. RHP Matt Andriese. Also pitching for Rays: TBA Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Drew Hutchison. Also pitching for Pirates: RH Juan Nicasio, LH Tony Watson, RH Daniel Hudson, RH Dovydas Neverauskus

>>> Saturday’s game: Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 p.m., Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota. Radio: 93.7 FM Pirates: Lineup TBA. Also pitching for Pirates: TBA. Orioles: Lineup TBA. RHP Mike Wright. Also pitching for Orioles: TBA.

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

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Pirates A.M. — Marte, Polanco v. the Pirates

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By Rob Biertempfel

MatePolancoDRBRADENTON, Fla. — It’s going to be a bit unusual this afternoon seeing Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco wearing visiting uniforms at LECOM Park. The two outfielders are playing for the Dominican Republic’s World Baseball Classic team, which will play an exhibition against the Pirates. On Tuesday, the DR lost 5-4 against the Orioles.

Manager Clint Hurdle expects the DR will use its regular starters. “I’ve got to imagine they’ll throw their guys at us, because they’ve got games coming up,” Hurdle said. “It’s going to be a good test.”

It should be interesting to watch Polanco and Marte dig in against Gerrit Cole and Tyler Glasnow. “That will be different,” Hurdle said with a smile. “We’ll see how our pitching philosophy works out against them.”

>>> DR manager Tony Pena talks about his memories of McKechnie Field and what he thinks about Polanco and Marte (please ignore the cameo appearance by Jayson Starks camera phone; it was tight quarters in the dugout):

>>> Wednesday’s game: Dominican Republic at Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. Webcast: pirates.com

Dominican Republic: Carlos Santana 3, Robinson Cano 4, Manny Machado 5, Jose Bautista 7, Nelson Cruz DH, Starling Marte 8, Jean Segura 6, Gregory Polanco 9, Wilington Castillo 2. RHP Wily Peralta

Also pitching for Dominican Republic: RH Tyler Eppler, LH Cody Dickson, LH Jared Lakind, RH Cesar Valdez

Pirates: Alen Hanson 4, Jordy Mercer 6, Josh Bell 3, David Freese 5, John Jaso 9, Eury Perez 7, Danny Ortiz 8, Jackson Williams 2, Gerrit Cole RHP.

Also pitching for Pirates: RH Tyler Glasnow, LH Dan Runzler, RH Angel Sanchez, RH Pat Light

>>> The Dominican team will wear black armbands in honor of Andy Marte and Yordano Ventura.

>>> There definitely is a heightened security presence, including bomb-sniffing doges, at LECOM Park. The DR team arrived on two buses and passed through a tented area (with a black curtain) as they entered the clubhouse.

>>> Three Pirates minor leaguers — Tyler Eppler, Cody Dickson and Jared Lakind — will work out of the DR’s bullpen today.

>>> Most of the folks who follow me on Twitter apparently don’t particularly care about the WBC:

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

Some advice from Cole and Ray Searage might push Steven Brault over the top in the battle for the lone open job in the rotation.

How does Chris Stewart keep Father Time at bay? Fewer spring training starts, more ice-tub baths and more massages.

Pirates 6, Braves 3. A gusty wind helps Austin Meadows at the plate, hurts him in right field.

>>> Thursday’s game: Pirates at Rays, 1:05 p.m., Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte. Webcast: pirates.com

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Chad Kuhl. Also pitching for Pirates: LH Felipe Rivero, RH A.J. Schugel and LH Wade LeBlanc

Rays: Lineup TBA. LHP Blake Snell. Also pitching for Rays: RH Tommy Hunter, RH David Carpenter, RH Ryan Garton, RH Kevin Gadea, LH Justin Marks

>>> Friday’s game: Rays at Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. Radio: 93.7 FM. TV: Root

Rays: Lineup TBA. RHP Matt Andriese. Also pitching for Rays: TBA

Pirates: TBA. Also pitching for Pirates: TBA

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

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Pirates A.M. — Where to bat Bell?

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Bell's combo of power and patience make him a good fit at several spots in the lineup. (Christopher Horner photo)
Bell’s combo of power and patience make him a good fit at several spots in the lineup. (Christopher Horner photo)

By Rob Biertempfel

BRADENTON, Fla. — If you were filling out the Pirates’ lineup card, where would you put Josh Bell? He mostly batted third or fourth at Triple-A Indy and Double-A Altoona, but …

“I feel like in the minor leagues, it was a little bit different,” Bell said. “You get up here and there are guys that have been doing it for years. Last year, I felt comfortable hitting second. I feel comfortable fifth or sixth. Wherever I can help the team, wherever I can learn my responsibilities in that part of the lineup. I could lead off if I had to. I’ve done that in the past. Wherever I’m slated.”

>>> The relocation of the Aug. 20 game vs. the Cardinals is not yet finalized, but should be a done deal in the next couple of days. The game will be played at BB&T Ballpark at Bowman Field, a 4,500-seat minor league stadium built in 1926.

Because the game is being played domestically, MLB did not need the permission of the Players’ Association to change the venue. That was not the case last year, when the union’s opposition shot down the proposed games in Puerto Rico between the Pirates and Marlins.

Fans who already bought tickets for the Aug. 20 game at PNC Park will be reimbursed by the Pirates. The Pirates will be reimbursed an undisclosed amount by MLB for the revenue they’ll lose by giving up the home game.

Bowman Field is where the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters (a Phillies affiliate) play. Tony Watson and Jared Hughes made their pro debuts there. “Who’s the super-fan there?” Watson asked. Hughes remembered: “Rhashan. He’s their director of smiles. He’ll be there, for sure.” Rhashan West-Bey is indeed a fixture at Bowman Field, as this MLB.com story from 2012 explains.

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

Josh Bell was pleased with his first game action of spring training 

Ivan Nova had a message for his pals: “We going to do it at my pace.” 

Pirates 13, Yankees 1 No contest. 

>>> Tuesday’s game: Braves (2-8) at Pirates (8-3), 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. TV: Root.

Braves: Jace Peterson 6, Emilio Bonifacio 8, Brandon Phillips 4, Adonis Garcia 5, Anthony Recker 2, Ronald Acuna 9, Micah Johnson 7, Matt Tuiasosopo 3, Braxton Davidson DH. LHP Jaime Garcia

Also pitching for Braves: RH Matt Wisler, RH Jim Johnson, RH Arodys Vizcaino

Pirates: Adam Frazier 5, Phil Gosselin 6, Austin Meadows 9, John Jaso 3, Chris Stewart 2, Max Moroff 4, Chris Bostick 7, Eury Perez 8, RHP Trevor Williams 1.

Also pitching for Pirates: LH Steven Brault, RH Jared Hughes, LH Antonio Bastardo, LH Ty Webb

>>> Wednesday’s game: Dominican Republic at Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. Webcast: pirates.com

Dominican Republic: Lineup TBA. RHP Wily Peralta. Also pitching for Dominican Republic: TBA

Pirates: Lineup TBA. Gerrit Cole. Also pitching for Pirates: RH Tyler Glasnow, LH Dan Runzler, RH Angel Sanchez, RH Pat Light

>>> Thursday’s game: Pirates at Rays, 1:05 p.m., Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte. Webcast: pirates.com

Pirates: TBA. Also pitching for Pirates: TBA

Rays: Lineup TBA. LHP Blake Snell Also pitching for Rays: RH Tommy Hunter, RH David Carpenter, RH Ryan Garton, RH Kevin Gadea, LH Justin Marks

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

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Pirates A.M. — Notable lineup tweaks today

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BellFutures2.jpegBy Rob Biertempfel

BRADENTON, Fla. — Two things stand out about today’s lineup. First, howdy, Josh Bell. He’ll make his Grapefruit League debut after recovering from offseason knee surgery. Second, grab a bat, Ivan Nova! The Pirates have stopped using a designated hitter.

>>> Chris Stewart is scheduled to catch in his first spring training game on Tuesday vs. the Braves. Stewart told me he’ll likely be behind the plate for three to five innings. “I’m expecting a sold-out crowd,” Stewart joked. Stewart had knee surgery in September and has been going at a slow pace during spring training. “I’ll get my work in, the things I need done, and pretty much (do) nothing more,” Stewart said. “The less taxing, the better. I’ve still got to be ready to go on day one, so it’s a matter of managing my workload and making sure I do all that needs to be done.”

>>> Gregory Polanco popped into the Pirates clubhouse this morning to pick up some gear on his way to the Dominican Republic’s WBC training camp. Team DR is working out at Pirate City, about 5 miles from BFKMF, and will play the Pirates here on Wednesday.

>>> Jung Ho Kang’s locker in the McKechnie clubhouse at the Ballpark Formerly Known as McKechnie Field is stocked with shoes, jerseys, uniform pants and batting gloves. The Pirates remain mum on when they expect Kang, who last week got a suspended sentence for drunk driving in South Korea, to arrive in camp.

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

With the fellas away at the WBC, Austin Meadows will get more PT.

Tom Prince is filling in as skipper while Clint Hurdle is away to attend a funeral

Yankees 3, Pirates 2. Rematch is this afternoon.

>>> Monday’s game: Yankees at Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Yankees (9-2): Brett Gardner 7, Jacoby Ellsbury 8, Starlin Castro 4, Greg Bird 3, Chase Headley 5, Aaron Judge DH, Aaron Hicks 9, Austin Romine 2, Jorge Mateo 6. RHP Bryan Mitchell.

Also pitching for Yankees: LH Jordan Montgomery, LH Jon Niese, LH Evan Rutckyj

Pirates (7-3): Adam Frazier 9, Jordy Mercer 6, Josh Bell 3, David Freese 5, Elias Diaz 2, Chris Bostick 4, Austin Meadows 8, Barrett Barnes 7 RHP Ivan Nova 1.

Also pitching for Pirates: RH Josh Lindblom, LH Felipe Rivero, RH Juan Nicasio, RH Edgar Santana, RH Dovydas Neverauskas.

>>> Tuesday’s game: Braves at Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. TV: Root.

Braves: Lineup TBA. LHP Jaime Garcia. Also pitching for Braves: RH Matt Wisler, RH Jim Johnson, RH Arodys Vizcaino

Pirates: TBA. RHP Trevor Williams. Also pitching for Pirates: LH Steven Brault, RH Jared Hughes, LH Antonio Bastardo, LH Ty Webb

>>> Wednesday’s game: Dominican Republic at Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. Webcast: pirates.com

Dominican Republic: TBA. Also pitching for Dominican Republic: TBA

Pirates: TBA. Also pitching for Pirates: TBA

>>> Thursday’s game: Pirates at Rays, 1:05 p.m., Charlotte Sports Park, Port Charlotte. Webcast: pirates.com

Pirates: TBA. Also pitching for Pirates: TBA

Rays: Lineup TBA. LHP Blake Snell. Also pitching for Rays: RH Tommy Hunter, RH David Carpenter, RH Ryan Garton, RH Kevin Gadea, LH Justin Marks

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

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Pirates A.M. — Cervy’s last game (for a little while)

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CervyAmore2017By Rob Biertempfel

TAMPA — Today is the first of back-to-back games against the Yankees. It’s also one of just four road games the Pirates will play between now and March 14, which is the club’s first off day of spring training. Francisco Cervelli will be the designated hitter in his last game before joining Team Italy in the WBC.

PrinceTom>>> UPDATE 8:49 a.m. — Tom Prince will manage the Pirates in the games today and Monday against the Yankees. Clint Hurdle has been given permission to leave camp to attend the funeral of a close friend.

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

Martin Prado (sort of) predicted Francisco Cervelli would be traded to the Pirates 

Last week, Josh Harrison hugged Jim Leyland. This week, he’ll be playing for him. 

Pirates 3, Red Sox 2 Cutch loosens up and delivers, but pays a physical toll 

>>> Sunday’s game: Pirates at Yankees, 1:05 p.m., Steinbrenner Field, Tampa. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Pirates (7-2): Max Moroff 6, Alen Hanson 4, Francisco Cervelli DH, John Jaso 3, Eric Wood 5, Jose Osuna 9, Barrett Barnes 7, Jacob Stallings 2, Danny Ortiz 8. RHP Jameson Taillon

Also pitching for Pirates: RH Nick Kingham, RH Clay Holmes, LH Antonio Bastardo, RH A.J. Schugel, LH Dan Runzler.

Yankees: Lineup TBA. RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Also pitching for Yankees: LH Aroldis Chapman, LH Tommy Layne, RH Tyler Clippard, RH Luis Cessa, RH Yefry Ramirez, RH Chance Adams

>>> Monday’s game: Yankees at Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Yankees: Lineup TBA. RHP Bryan Mitchell

Also pitching for Yankees: LH Jordan Montgomery, LH Jon Niese, LH Evan Rutckyj

Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova.

Also pitching for Pirates: RH Losh Lindblom, LH Felipe Rivero, RH Juan Nicasio, RH Edgar Santana, RH Dovydas Neverauskas

>>> Tuesday’s game: Braves at Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. TV: Root.

Braves: Lineup TBA. LHP Jaime Garcia

Also pitching for Braves: RH Matt Wisler, RH Jim Johnson, RH Arodys Vizcaino

Pirates: TBA

Also pitching for Pirates: TBA

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


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Pirates A.M. — Cole working on a change

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By Rob Biertempfel

BRADENTON, Fla. — Guess which pitch Gerrit Cole is working on a lot this spring. Kudos if you said the changeup. Then again, it seems every pitcher in Pirates camp is either fine-tuning their touch on the pitch or trying a new grip or doing something else related to the changeup.

“It was the first secondary pitch I started tossing this offseason,” Cole said after tossing two scoreless innings yesterday. “I put a little extra emphasis on it. It’s coming along quite nicely. I located it where I needed it and I think I got (Manny) Machado to roll over on it, which is nice.”

With his injury problems last spring (which carried over into the season) Cole never got much of a chance to refine his changeup. “It’s my least-used secondary pitch. The movement is a good complement to my slider but it’s my least-used.”

He’s happy with how the changeup is progressing this spring, and expects to have enough confidence in it to use the pitch from day one. “You want to come out with as many bullets as you can in April. There’s not a lot of stress with that pitch so I got it going a couple of weeks early.”

Harrison1>>> UPDATE 11:26 a.m.Josh Harrison will play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. “I’m looking forward to putting on the colors and playing with the rest of the guys,” Harrison said. Harrison will replace Matt Carpenter, who has a stiff back. The other second basemen on the roster are Ian Kinsler and Daniel Murphy.

>>> Andrew McCutchen had a heat wrap on his lower back this morning in the clubhouse. “A little tight when I woke up this morning,” Cutch told me, adding that he expects to be good to go for today’s televised game against the Red Sox. It’s his final game before leaving camp to join Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

The Ace, the Future, the Question all were a bit nervous yesterday, but it worked out all right

John Jaso played right field, and it was fabulous 

Pirates 5, Orioles 2 Infield hits can create runs

Will Pirates suspend Jung Ho Kang? Maybe, maybe not 

TVonAir>>> Saturday’s game: Red Sox at Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. TV: MLB Network. Webcast: pirates.com

Red Sox (3-5): Brock Holt 6, Chris Young 7, Jackie Bradley Jr. 8, Pablo Sandoval 5, Blake Swihart 2, Allen Craig 3, Brian Bogusevic 9, Junior Lake DH, Mike Miller 4. RHP Hector Velazquez

Also pitching for Red Sox: RH Joe Kelly, RH Matt Barnes, RH Kyle Martin, LH Fernando Abad, RH Chandler Shepherd, RH Jamie Callahan, RH Ben Taylor

Pirates (6-2): Josh Harrison 4, Starling Marte 8, Andrew McCutchen 9, Gregory Polanco 7, Francisco Cervelli 2, David Freese DH, Jordy Mercer 6, Jose Osuna 3 Eric Wood 5. RHP Chad Kuhl

Also pitching for Pirates: LH Tony Watson, RH Daniel Hudson, LH Wade LeBlanc, RH Jared Hughes, RH Pat Light

>>> Sunday’s game: Pirates (RHP Jameson Taillon) at Yankees (RHP Masahiro Tanaka), 1:05 p.m., Steinbrenner Field, Tampa. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Also pitching for Pirates: RH Nick Kingham, RH Clay Holmes, LH Antonio Bastardo, RH A.J. Schugel, LH Dan Runzler.

Also pitching for Yankees: LH Aroldis Chapman, LH Tommy Layne, RH Tyler Clippard, RH Luis Cessa, RH Yefry Ramirez, RH Chance Adams

>>> Monday’s game: Yankees (RHP Bryan Mitchell) at Pirates (TBA), 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Also pitching for Yankees: LH Jordan Montgomery, LH Jon Niese, LH Evan Rutckyj

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

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Pirates A.M. — Discussion? Yes. Discipline? Maybe.

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Kang4By Rob Biertempfel

BRADENTON, Fla. — A South Korean court last night gave Jung Ho Kang a suspended sentence of eight months in jail for fleeing the scene of a DUI incident.

Kang was sentenced to eight months in prison by the Seoul Central District Court, which then suspended the sentence for two years.

Kang’s four-year, $11 million contract runs out in two years. The Pirates hold a $5.5 million option for 2019.

This was Kang’s third DUI offense since 2009. The first two happened before he signed with the Pirates.

This morning, Pirates president Frank Coonelly reacted with a one-paragraph statement via email. Here’s the entire text from Coonelly: “Now that Jung Ho’s legal case in Korea has concluded, we will continue to work with him and his representatives in an effort to secure his work visa so that he may resume his career as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. We look forward to meeting with Jung Ho as soon as he is able to travel to the United States and having a serious discussion with him on this issue and how he has and will change those behaviors that led to the very serious punishment that has been levied against him in Korea. We will withhold judgment on what Club discipline, if any, is appropriate until we have had an opportunity to have that discussion. We will also withhold from further comment until we have an opportunity to meet with Jung Ho. Regardless of our decision on the disciplinary issue, we will do everything that we can as an organization to assist Jung Ho as he works to change his behavior and grow into the man that we know he can be.”

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

When Felipe Rivero throws his changeup, hilarity sometimes ensues 

Jordy Mercer chats about his grand slam and the changes to the defensive drills this spring

Pirates 11, Tigers 1 Steven Brault gave up just one homer, which was better than Justin Verlander fared. 

>>> Friday’s game: Orioles at Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. Radio: 93.7 FM

Orioles (3-4) : Hyun-soo Kim 7, Joey Rickard 8, Manny Machado 6, Welington Castillo 2, Trey Mancini-3, Johnny Giavotella 4, Ryan Flaherty 5, Craig Gentry 8, Anthoy Santander DH. LHP Wade Miley

Also pitching for Orioles: LH Chris Lee, RH Mychal Givens, RH Logan Ondrusek, RH Jesus Liranzo.

Pirates (5-2): Starling Marte 8, Phil Gosselin 6, Gregory Polanco 7, David Freese 5, John Jaso 9. Kevin Newman DH, Joey Terdoslavich 3, Elias Diaz 2, Max Moroff 4. RHP Gerrit Cole.

Also pitching for Pirates: Tyler Glasnow, Drew Hutchison

discomfort4>>> UPDATE 9:14 a.m. – Jason Rogers is in a walking boot, the result of an unspecified injury — the team describes it as right ankle discomfort — he sustained before Wednesday’s game. Rogers will be re-evaluated in a week.

>>> Saturday’s game: Red Sox (RHP Hector Velazquez) at Pirates (RHP Chad Kuhl), 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. Webcast: pirates.com

Also pitching for Red Sox: RH Joe Kelly, RH Matt Barnes, RH Kyle Martin, LH Fernando Abad, RH Chandler Shepherd, RH Jamie Callahan, RH Ben Taylor

Also pitching for Pirates: LH Tony Watson, RH Daniel Hudson, LH Wade LeBlanc, RH Jared Hughes, RH Pat Light

>>> Sunday’s game: Pirates (RHP Jameson Taillon) at Yankees (RHP Masahiro Tanaka), 1:05 p.m., Steinbrenner Field, Tampa. Radio: 93.7 FM.

Also pitching for Yankees: LH Aroldis Chapman, LH Tommy Layne, RH Tyler Clippard, RH Luis Cessa, RH Yefry Ramirez, RH Chance Adams

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

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