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.
>>> 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.