Day 4 Daily Squeeze
OK, so I’ve got my new title (for now). Thanks for the numerous suggestions, though I liked this one since it had a bit of a Floridian flavor.
- Today was the first full squad workout of Spring Training and everyone with the exception of infielder Pedro Lopez was present and working out. Lopez has been delayed by what GM Neal Huntington said was a minor visa problem. Lopez is expected in camp either Wednesday or Thursday.
- Obviously, the big news of the day belonged to Nate McLouth, who signed a multi-year deal that will pay him no less than $15.75 million in all. Check out the blog entry below for all the specifics on the deal.
McLouth is flying back from Phoenix as we speak and won’t be arriving in Bradenton until this evening. As a result, the Pirates are holding off on having a press conference until sometime on Wednesday, so look for comments from your All-Star centerfielder on the site tomorrow.
- Good news for Phil Dumatrait — the left-hander is slated to throw off the mound on Wednesday for the first time since making a start on July 7. After that start, Dumatrait was shut down for the season. He will throw 25 fastballs on Wednesday. Said Dumatrait: “It’s about time. I just want my arm to feel good.” He also added that his progression from throwing long toss at 150 feet to this mound session went quicker than he had anticipated.
Also, for those who read Monday’s scoop that the Pirates are interested in
lefty Will Ohman, Huntington had this to say about the organization’s current level of activity in the free agent market: “We continue to have conversations with agents to see if we have the right fit. We like our left-handed options.” Those options include John Grabow and Sean Burnett, though Huntington also threw Donnie Veal’s name into the mix. Veal was the team’s Rule 5 Draft pick this winter.
As for other minor matters in your daily squeeze….
- Nine pitchers — John Grabow, Jeff Karstens, Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Tom Gorzelanny, Daniel McCutchen, Denny Bautista, Jason Davis and Dave Davidson — threw bullpen sessions. Bautista and Davis stayed on the mound a bit longer to get some specific instruction from pitching coach Joe Kerrigan about their deliveries.
- In a nice change of pace from a year ago, Freddy Sanchez was able to fully take part in all infield drills on Tuesday. You’ll remember that last yeart the second baseman was held back from making throws. He said his arm strength feels great up to 90-100 feet; the focus now is continuing to stretch it out.
- Infielders were split up into two groups during morning defensive drills, with the Major Leaguers getting their first chance to work with new infield coach Perry Hill. The division of infielders was indicative of the depth chart. On the field with Perry were Andy LaRoche and Neil Walker at third; Jack Wilson and Brian Bixler at short, Freddy Sanchez and Ramon Vazquez at second; and Adam LaRoche and Steve Pearce at first. Like he did last year, Pearce will get defensive work at first and in the outfield
- Jack Wilson by far drew the most onlookers during workouts and stayed around to sign autographs to a large congregation of fans afterward.
- The Pirates will be holding their 2nd annual Spring Training Golf Tournament on Wednesday, with players, coaches and front office staff all participating. Players participating will be scooting out of Pirate City early on Wednesday since check-in is at 12:30 pm.
- Neil Walker did in fact become an uncle on Monday. His sister, Carrie, gave birth to a healthy boy.
- And.. if you’re around the television tonight, tune into ABC News (I believe it’s on at 6:30 p.m., but you’ll have to double check on that) for an interview with Dinesh and Rinku, the two Indian players that the Pirates signed this offseason. I’m writing an in-depth story on the two for Friday, but thought I’d let you know about the ABC News segment as well.
Quote of the Day: “Going through the last few days, I try to talk, but I can’t get a word in because everybody is teaching. That is a great thing. Those are great teachers.” — Manager John Russell lauding the new additions to the Major League and Minor League coaching staffs