Day 2 Short Hops

No less than 10 people in the clubhouse came up to me within my first hour at Pirate City on Sunday noting that I had gotten sunburnt on Saturday. One after another I informed them that I had applied the sunscreen Sunday morning, so they had nothing to worry about. Nice to know I’m being looked after apparently.

Sunday’s workout began with a 9:30 am meeting, with the players on the field around 10 am. Though thunderstorms were forcasted for later Sunday afternoon, the skies were clear for the few hours players were on the fields.

And here are your short hops for the day:

  • Eric Hinske and Andrew McCutchen made their first appearances at Pirate City on Sunday. The clubhouse is just about full, and the rest of the position players are required to report by midnight on Monday. The most notable names not here yet: Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez.
  • Nine more pitchers threw bullpen sessions on Sunday, those being: John Grabow, Jeff Karstens, Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Tom Gorzelanny, Daniel McCutchen, Denny Bautista, Dave Davidson and Jason Davis. Karsten’s side session was limited to 25 pitches, just because he’s two bullpen sessions behind the rest of the group. Nothing to worry about, though. His elbow is pain-free and just fine.
  • The fielding drills were much like they were on Day 1 — There were exercises in covering first base, fielding and throwing to second and work on pick-off moves. Some of the pitchers also spent time bunting.
  • As for the catchers, much of the morning was spent catching pop-ups and refining the art of blocking pitches. All was just fine until a handful of Pirate City groundskeepers noticed that the drill was being conducted on the grass and, as a result, creating noticeable divots in it. They stood by and watched, cringing every time another cleat dug in. Members of the groundscrew staff are out there right now doing what they can to limit the damage done.
  • Batting practice was an entertaining sight to watch on Sunday with Hinske, Ramon Vazquez, Nyjer Morgan, Brandon Moss, Jeff Salazar and Garrett Jones all taking part. Quick quiz: What do all these guys have in common besides wearing the black and gold? They’re all lefties, of course. And watching some of the balls that were launched got me thinking about how entertaining this could be with that short porch in right field at PNC Park.
  • Speaking of balls being launched, both Jones and Hinske easily cleared the outfield fence, much to the delight of the fans standing in the parking lot just behind the fence.
  • After finishing his workout, Moss scooted out of Pirate City to take part in one of Florida’s favorite pasttimes: Hog Hunting. I’m not joking.
  • While roaming from field to field during the various drills, manager John Russell noted that he sees a “little more energy” from this group than he did from last year’s Spring Training squad. He later added that the quality of arms has also improved since last year.

Until tomorrow…   

6 Comments

These are great Jennifer. Thank you for the daily fix of news from down south.

How about Bradenton Bits… or Jen’s View?

Keep up the good work.

Thank you for the updates. I am wondering as avid pirate fan is there any truth to Tom Gorzelanny having any shoulder pain from what you see.

Keep the sun screen close!

Hinske could end up being a big part of the team, even thogh Morgan seems to have the inside track on starting.

Chasclark, to answer your question about Gorzelanny… no, there is no truth to the lefty having shoulder pain. Actually, Gorzelanny showed up to camp in peak shape — the best he’s ever been in — and has looked very sharp so far in the one bullpen session he threw.

Everyone believes that Gorzelanny is much better prepared to avoid the injury bug because he prepared his body much better this winter. And right now there are no warning signs of anything going wrong physically.

Jennifer… what can we expect out of Zack Duke this year? Last year was not a good year for him. I expected more… can we expect better?

Michmeshaw,
The expectations are high on Duke, and well they should be. The fact that GM Neal Huntington has come out and said Duke has a leg up on winning a rotation spot seems to be a point of debate for many fans, who feel he’s done nothing to earn that rotation spot over the last few seasons.
However, Duke arrived at Spring Training in great shape, and there’s a belief here that pitching coach Joe Kerrigan can have a significant impact on Duke’s performance this year. Obviously, we’ll have to wait and see if the results do follow the new instruction. What I can tell you now is that the comments being made about Duke and Tom Gorzelanny early in camp were similar to those being made about Paul Maholm last season, right before he had his breakthrough year. Similar results would obviously be a welcome sight.

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