All posts by Chris Adamski

Chris Adamski joined Trib Total Media's Steelers coverage team in 2014 after spending two seasons on the Penn State football beat for the Trib. Before that, he had worked in Pittsburgh sports media for more than a decade, extensively covering the Steelers, Pirates, Penguins, Pitt, Duquesne and the WPIAL.

Pirates A.M.: Taillon a confident pitcher right now, with good reason

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By Chris Adamski

BRADENTON, Fla. — Jameson Taillon didn’t have his best stuff Wednesday. And that he yet still put up a clean stat line is a testament both to his talent and his current confidence level.

 

JT
(Christopher Horner/Tribune-Review photo)

The Pirates’ second-year No. 2 starter said as much afterwards, both lamenting some of his pitches and simultaneously and palpably (and humbly) taking great pride in the way he was able to challenge good hitters when behind in the count – and still get outs.

 

Taillon’s demeanor – both on the mound during games and in the clubhouse between them – belies a man who has just 18 major-league games on his résumé.

 

The No. 2 overall draft pick always believed he had major-league starter talent in him. But even the most confident of people can have some apprehension until when and if they actually perform at that level. Taillon’s 3.38 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 104 MLB innings last season removed any doubt.

 

“I think you know you can do it; you can never lose that self-confidence,” Taillon was saying last week. “It’s nice have to kind of done a little circuit up there and know how it works. But that being said I’m still preparing as if I’m not guaranteed a spot, and I think that will serve me well.”

 

“He’s hungry, he just wants to keep on learning and be one of the best of the best,” pitching coach Ray Searage said. “And I say all the time: his maturity is way beyond his years. He’s got a good feel for the game. Some people are born to pitch. And I think Jameson is one of those people.”

 

 

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

“The Pirates definitely value it a little more than maybe the average team in Major League Baseball as a whole”

‘Super-utility’ players dot Pirates’ roster, to benefit of team, Hurdle

 

They anticipate him being back into game activity tomorrow.”

Marte among the day’s injury updates, plus other notes

 

“I’d fall behind in the count and throw a competitive challenge pitch and got some good results.”

Jameson Taillon is in a good place right now

 

 

>>> Thursday’s game:  Pirates (13-5) at Red Sox (8-10), 6:05 p.m., JetBlue Park at Fenway South, Fort Myers, Fla. Webcast: pirates.com

Pirates: Adam Frazier 6, Phil Gosselin 4, Josh Bell 3, Jose Osuna 7, Elias Diaz 2, Alen Hanson 9, Eury Perez 8, Gift Ngoepe 5. RHP Ivan Nova 1.

Also pitching for the Pirates: RH Edgar Santana, RH A.J. Schugel, LH Dan Runzler, RH Donvydas Neverauskas

Red Sox: Lineup TBA. LHP Chris Sale

Also pitching for the Red Sox: RH Craig Kimbrel, RH Heath Hembree, LH Robbie Ross Jr., RH Jamie Callahan.

 

>>> My spot start has ended:  My 10-day stint in Bradenton is up, so as of Thursday I’m back in Pittsburgh. The incomparable Rob Biertempfel is back with the ol’ ballclub starting then. I can only hope he’s returning and doesn’t have too much of a mess to clean up (figuratively in regards to the beat, and literally at the condo at Casa de Trib). Thanks for following along.

 

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.: Pedro Alvarez to make his spring training debut – against the Pirates in Bradenton

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By Chris Adamski

BRADENTON, Fla. — There is finally an El Toro sighting for the Grapefruit League this spring.

 

And it’s coming at a very familiar place.

 

Toro
Simpler times: when Pedro was a Pittsburgh star — and the Pirates flashed the “Z” for “Zoltan.”

Four days after signing with the Orioles (and waiting four weeks into camp before doing so), Pedro Alvarez is in their lineup for the first time Wednesday when the O’s make the short drive up from Sarasota to face the Pirates at LECOM Park.

 

Alvarez, of course, spent seven springs playing here (when it was still called McKechnie Field, of course). But, as is well known to Pirates fans, he did it at third base – until his struggles there compounded to the point he spent his final season with the team at first base.

 

The Pirates, as you’ll surely recall, non-tendered  Alvarez 16 months ago, and the Orioles eventually scooped him up to be their DH last season.

 

In terms of Alvarez’s free-agent market value, his fielding (led the NL in errors three consecutive seasons) and on-base numbers (.311 career OBP) are poor enough they overshadow prodigious power (led the NL in HR in ’13, hit 47 over the past two seasons in just 867 plate appearances, 14th among active players in AB per HR).

 

The Orioles are trying the newest experiment in regards to Alvarez’s glove: the outfield.

 

Manager Buck Showalter insists Alvarez can handle it. We’ll see – but we won’t see it today at LECOM.

 

 

>>>>> Tuesday was a wonderful day here. After an exact month straight of work for everyone involved, it was an off day (mostly) for the Pirates.

 

But in terms of prep for the season – in particular, for starting pitchers – Neal Huntington threw some proverbial cold water on it: “Off days are great thing,” the general manager said Monday, “but they’re also a day we don’t get nine innings.”

 

In the context of stretching out the starting pitchers (both for Pittsburgh and Triple-A Indianapolis) as well as evaluate the five pitchers purportedly in a competition for the final two rotation spots, missing out on those nine valuable innings.

 

Luckily, the Pirates have Ray Searage.

 

“Ray,” Huntington said, “is a master puzzle man in terms of putting together the innings and how we get innings.”

 

 

>>> You want links? I’ve got, well, one link (hey, cut me some slack – yesterday was the first “off day” of the spring. And I still worked):

Fraz
(Christopher Horner/Tribune-Review photo)

“We don’t come from a very big town. … Successful guys, I guess, kind of stick together.”

From Georgia to Pittsburgh, Pirates’ Frazier and Steelers’ Mettenberger share bond

 

 

>>> Wednesday’s game: Orioles (10-7) at Pirates (12-5), 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. TV: ROOT Sports. Radio: 93.7 The Fan

Orioles: Chris Dickerson 9, Johnny Giavotella 4, Hyun Soo Kim 7, Chris Davis 3, Pedro Alvarez DH, Chris Johnson 5, Logan Schafer 8, Caleb Joseph 2, Paul Janish 6. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez

Also pitching for the Orioles: RHP Zach Stewart, LHP Donnie Hart.

Pirates: Adam Frazier 4, Jordy Mercer 6, Jose Osuna 3, David Freese 5, John Jaso 9, Phil Gosselin 7, Danny Ortiz 8, Chris Stewart 2, RHP Jameson Taillon

Also pitching for the Pirates: LH Antonio Bastardo, RH Jared Hughes, RH Juan Nicasio.

RH Chad Kuhl will pitch at Pirate City in a minor league game.

 

>>> Thursday’s game: Pirates  at Red Sox (8-10 heading into Wednesday’s game), 6:05 p.m., JetBlue Park at Fenway South, Fort Myers, Fla. Webcast: pirates.com

Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova. Lineup TBA.

Also pitching for the Pirates: RH Edgar Santana, RH A.J. Schugel, LH Dan Runzler, RH Donvydas Neverauskas.

Red Sox: Lineup TBA. LHP Chris Sale

Also pitching for the Red Sox: RH Craig Kimbrel, RH Heath Hembree, LH Robbie Ross Jr., RH Jamie Callahan.

 

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.: What’s up with Tyler Glasnow?

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By Chris Adamski

BRADENTON, Fla. — Repeat after me: Spring training statistics don’t matter. Everyone will tell you that.

 

OK, now that that’s out of the way… let’s start to panic about why Tyler Glasnow’s statistics are so bad.

 

He’s pitched in four games (one of them does not count in his “official” stats that you will see because it was not a Grapefruit League game and was a *true* exhibition – don’t let Rob Manfred hear you calling all the other March games “exhibitions”).

 

His line in those four games combined: 8 2/3 innings, 15 hits, 12 runs (all earned), seven walks, nine strikeouts. That’s good for a 12.46 ERA, 2.19 WHIP, .455 opponent batting average and 1.29 K/BB ratio.

 

TG
(Christopher Horner/Tribune-Review photo)

That’s not good. Even accounting for the small sample size and for the – again – fact that it is only spring training, it’s certainly alarming that a pitcher who is so highly regarded (he’d been a top-20 MLB prospect and Pirates’ top-3 prospect in both 2015 and ’16) is having so much trouble.

 

Couple it with the problems he had in his four major-league starts last season and it’s a bit unnerving.

 

Most of all, though, Glasnow’s fragile confidence is what’s most telling. He just seems, well, off. Even his I’m-thinking-about-things-too-much explanation for a balk he committed in Monday’s loss to the Braves in Orlando: “I was in the middle of the slide step, so I was already in the middle of going forward, I should have just thrown it. I was in the middle of the delivery.”

 

Then, here’s manager Clint Hurdle’s reaction to a question about the balk, one in which the reporter gave him every opportunity to brush it aside: “You can’t just say it didn’t happen. That’s part of his game awareness. There’s work to be done there. Because he will tell you if he has an opportunity like that again, you step off the rubber right there. You turn and you get an out. You don’t, (then) you balk, you move the guy up, you give up the run. So that’s part of his game awareness. I think he’s making strides in shortening up his delivery at times when it’s appropriate. I think he’s found a way to make his feet and hands work well as far as throwing over. So I think there’s some areas he’s developed.”

 

In the bigger picture, Glasnow almost exclusively and repeatedly kept coming back to Monday’s directive from pitching coach Ray Searage to only throw fastballs when behind in the count. Though I never got a chance to ask Searage what the exact rationale behind this was, it’s a logical assumption it was to help Glasnow avoid a meltdown like he had in his prior outing against the Dominicans last Wednesday when he walked four batters before retiring anybody in his third inning of work and got pulled.

 

Then this outing, while throwing fastballs, he at least was finding the plate (only one walk) – but it was four consecutive hits that did him in.

 

Either way, not being able to get any hitters out? That’s, um, a problem. It’s almost pick your poison – and Glasnow was palpably annoyed he had no recourse Monday but to throw his 94-mph fastball.

 

Hurdle, it could be interpreted, didn’t take too well to the assertion that Glasnow was conveying the idea that his hands were tied:

 

“Ray wanted him to go in there with a gameplan to follow. And the gameplan was fine for two innings – so now when the gameplan doesn’t work, where do you go with that? Do you point the finger at Ray for the gameplan or do you look at the execution of the pitches and where they ended up? I know what we’re looking at. We haven’t been result-oriented with any pitcher or any player out here at spring training. We’re looking for execution, we’re looking for pace and rhythm on the mound. We’re looking for an ability to follow that glove and dot the ball with downhill angle and throw some low strikes. So he’s got some work to do.”

 

Earlier in his postgame comments, Hurdle in response to question about Glasnow following orders: “Well, Ray wanted him to use his fastball as long as he was behind in the counts; once he got ahead in the counts he could go to breaking stuff. So first two innings, everything was fine. Ball got elevated in the third inning — and they didn’t miss it. I think it was five shots at getting out of the inning: a walk and four consecutive hits. So there is work still to be done. We saw some good things the first two innings and when you get better location in the third inning and we weren’t able to do that.”

 

And just in case you think Hurdle was just flame-throwing his young precocious righty, don’t. He came out in defense of him when some dummy asked Hurdle a question seeming to paint Glasnow in a negative light:

“I think you guys (in the media) need to also revisit what you’re writing about him and what we’re talking about. He pitched in Triple-A (last season), and nobody is getting on base; he pitches up here and people are getting on base. Guys are better hitters and there’s better lineups. So that evolution and that development and that curve is a challenge for any young pitcher. We need to continue to work with him and challenge him to continue to find ways to get out of innings with quick contact. The counts also picked up and got lengthy – he still had every opportunity to get a quick ground ball — those are things he’s still working to do. There’s better hitters up here though; the breaking ball has got to be sharp and there’s got to be more depth to it. Fastball has got to have some late life and then I saw him moving the ball around the first two innings but when the ball is elevated up here it’s hard for anyone to pitch. And I think he was set on 94 (mph) – that’s nothing that’s going to rearrange anyone’s mindset at the plate. He’s just got some work to do. We like him and like a lot of the things he does, but he’s just got some more work to do.”

 

Anyway… Glasnow is still very young. And very, very talented. It’s far, far, FAR from time to give up on him or even hit any panic buttons in that general vicinity. But it seems that his chances of winning a spot in the 2017 opening day rotation have evaporated. And would have thought that all last April and May when everyone was crushing the Pirates for not calling him up?

 

 

>>> “Head to the beach. Relax” – Clint Hurdle

Tuesday is the first off day for the Pirates since Grapefruit League play began Feb. 25. It’ll also be the first scheduled off day from any formal activity or mandatory appearances for the pitchers and catchers for a month straight since they reported on Valentine’s Day.

 

 

>>> You want links? I’ve got links:

“He’s making himself valuable to Clint, to be on the team and to help us win games.”

Newest Pirate Phil Gosselin doing whatever he can to fit in (including hit .400)

 

 “None of them did anything to deserve getting sent out of camp. It just became a matter of innings.”

Newman, Kingham, four others sent to minor league camp Monday

 

“Do you point the finger at Ray for the gameplan? Or do you look at the execution of the pitches and where they ended up? “

Clint Hurdle has little sympathy for a frustrated Tyler Glasnow getting knocked around again

 

 

>>> Wednesday’s game: Orioles (10-6 heading into Tuesday’s game) at Pirates (12-5), 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton. Webcast: pirates.com

Orioles: Lineup TBA. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Jameson Taillon

Also pitching for Pirates: LH Antonio Bastardo, RH Jared Hughes, RH Juan Nicasio.

 

>>> Thursday’s game: Pirates at Red Sox (7-10 heading into Tuesday’s game), 6:05 p.m., JetBlue Park at Fenway South, Fort Myers, Fla. Webcast: pirates.com

Lineups/pitchers TBA.

 

 

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.: Ode to Jaso – and not just because of his fabulous dreadlocks

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By Chris Adamski

 

BRADENTON, Fla. — Fans can debate the on-field contributions and statistical worth of John Jaso while he’s midway through a two-year, $8 million contract. He hit .268/.353/.413 last season, primarily as a first baseman).

 

But when it comes to intangibles, count Clint Hurdle as a fan.

 

Jaso
With this hair — and an attitude that, for example, allows him to put on this glove — it’s no wonder Clint Hurdle is a fan of John Jaso. (Christopher Horner/Tribune-Review photo)

“John is as a good a teammate as I have had in a clubhouse,” the Pirates’ skipper said. “And I’ve been managing a while now.”

 

Hurdle has been an MLB manager for 14 seasons.

 

Asked a simple, almost-random postgame question about Jaso after Sunday’s game at LECOM Park, Hurdle gave an expansive, 200-word answer gushing about the dreadlocked unassuming infielder.

 

“He shows up every day, and he will do whatever is asked of him that day to help his team win,” Hurdle said. “He’s bought into moving around and trying new positions. This is a man who wants to play baseball; he doesn’t want to DH. And he’s just so good in so many ways in the clubhouse. He’s got no ego, he’s very smart. There’s a lot of different topics you can run up the flagpole that John can throw something in on — and with some research. He’s  not just throwing out opinions without experience. I like the man.”

 

Almost exclusively a catcher (and part-time designated hitter) over six seasons in the American League. Jaso was signed to play first base and bat leadoff for the Pirates last season. Certainly not the profile of the traditional, stereotypical leadoff hitter, Jaso fit more of a mold in that because of his plate discipline and ability to get on base.

 

It was an up-and-down 2016 in that area, in particular, and at the plate in general for Jaso.

 

  • Jaso’s on-base percentage by month last season: .389, .348, .313, .262, .455, .383
  • His OPS by month last season: .845, .775, .609, .512, .969, .987

 

Through it all, Hurdle remains enamored.

 

“He’s, I think, the one player I’ve had who I don’t think I have ever seen him argue about a call at the plate,” Hurdle said. “It’s been one full season and now one spring now. And I can’t say that about anyone else I’ve ever had that. Whatever happens, happens – and he moves on.

 

“But he plays with intensity, he plays with confidence, and he wants to compete and he wants to play well. You feel that every day.”

 

 

>>> MORNING UPDATE: Pirates send out Kingham and Newman

GTR-BucsNB01-031417
“Goodbye… Newman.” (Christopher Horner/Tribune-Review photo)

“None of them did anything to deserve getting sent out camp; it just became a matter of innings.”

The shortstop and starting pitcher prospect, respectively, are among four players who packed up their lockers at LECOM Park and headed over to Pirate City on Monday morning.

 

 

>>> You want (more) links? I’ve got (more!) links:

“It’s tough when you get the news that you’re going to be out more than a year and a half,” Sanchez said last week. “It’s a job that you love, and you don’t even know if you’re coming back well from that. It’s unfathomable the time you have to spend to get back to where you want to be”

I talked to four Pirates who had Tommy John surgery during a spring in which many (including Casey Sadler on Sunday) make long-awaited returns

 

“I spend (so) much time on (Twitter) mindlessly. Lent is great time for me to focus on my spirituality, and it’s been awesome.”

Trevor Williams gives up social media for Lent – and issuing walks, too (Sunday, at least)

 

“Spunky” Stew, Fiery Felipe, Neat Newman and Hammerin’ Hague

Pirates Gameday No. 16 of the spring

 

 

>>> Monday’s game:  Pirates (12-4) at Braves (5-10), 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: Frazier 8, Gosselin 6, Meadows 7, Bell 3, Diaz 2, Terdoslavich 9, Hanson 5, Ngoepe 4, RHP Tyler Glasnow 1.

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

Also Monday, Gerrit Cole is scheduled to pitch 60-65 pitches in a minor league game at Pirate City.

 

>>> Tuesday: Off day

 

>>> Wednesday’s game: Orioles (9-6 heading into Monday’s game) at Pirates, 1:05 p.m., LECOM Park, Bradenton, Fla. Webcast: pirates.com

Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Jameson Taillon.

Also pitching for Pirates: LH Antonio Bastardo, RH Jared Hughes, RH Juan Nicasio.

Orioles: Lineup TBA. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez

 

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. – 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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