Day 7 Daily Squeeze

I had forgotten what day it was when I got out of bed this morning (these Spring Training days will do that to you), but fortunately I didn’t forget to grab my coat on the way out the door. It was by far the chilliest day since camp opened, and that breeze coming in from the north certainly didn’t help. But since I realize many of you live in places where having temperatures in the 40s would be a reason for celebration, I will refrain from making any complaints.

Before getting to the general news and notes from the day, I wanted to highlight a few things.

2007 First-round Draft pick Daniel Moskos (many of you may know him as the guy who is not Matt Wieters) has joined me in the MLB blogosphere. Moskos has started a blog, which can be found right here, so don’t forget to make that one of your daily stops as you surf for Pirates news (after you check here, of course). I’m sure he would love to hear from you. I will also add it to my links list along the right-hand side.

Also, just a reminder that individual regular season tickets go on sale tomorrow (Saturday) at 10 a.m. ET. They can be purchased on the Pirates’ official website, by calling 1-800-Buy-Bucs, or at the PNC Park box office window. And for those in Pittsburgh, the Pirates will be holding an “on-sale” event at PNC Park. A listing of the planned activities can be found here.

Since I’m having fun sending everyone to different links, here’s one more to bookmark. MLB.com is starting a team-by-team injury page to keep you fantasy players updated. Anyone who likes to keep up with teams across the league should find this helpful. 

And in case you missed the blog entry earlier, you can scroll down to find information about the 125 regular season Pirates games that FSN Pittsburgh will be televising this year.

And now for what you all came for, I presume. Your daily update awaits…

  • The third basemen in camp are slowly dropping out, one by one. OK, so we’re not talking about anything serious here, but Andy LaRoche and Neil Walker were both held out of workouts on Friday. Walker is battling a stomach virus, though he did spend part of the morning watching the drills. LaRoche (lower back stiffness) continues to improve, but was held out for the second straight day primarily because of the cold temperatures. Said manager John Russell: “He’s much better today. Again, we’ll see how he’s doing tomorrow. He’s coming along real well.”
  • With the depth chart running thin on third baseman, that allowed Eric Hinske to get his first looks from third base. Hinske joined the infielders in the last infield drill of the morning, which was fielding bunts and making throws to first and third.
  • The highlight of workouts (which were longer today) was pitchers throwing live batting practice. A total of 17 pitchers threw today, each throwing about 17-18 pitches, taking a short break and returning for 17-18 more pitches. Pitching coach Joe Kerrigan really emphasized first-pitch strikes and then situational pitching. 
  • Obviously I’m not a professional talent evaluator (or I’d be off making more money elsewhere), but I thought Ross Ohlendorf lookedNate.jpg real strong. Ian Snell was a bit erratic at first with some pitches in the dirt, but finished off his session with a beautiful changeup away to get Adam LaRoche to swing and miss. Tyler Yates also looked quite sharp, and Hinske had some positive remarks about Evan Meek after standing at the plate while Meek threw.

   
   

  • Nine different pitchers will throw live BP for the first time on Sunday, including Tom Gorzelanny, Paul Maholm and Zach Duke.  
  • Virgil Vasquez, who was initially among those scheduled to throw on Friday, actually ended up sitting out. Vasquez said he was just a little sore from his two bullpens earlier in the week, and so the coaches decided to take it easy. The setback is not expected to be anything serious.
  • Speaking of soreness, the shuttle runs that position players had to run on Thursday were still being felt on Friday. Hinske, Craig Monroe and Freddy Sanchez all made mention of having heavy legs from those runs. We’ll have to see if any more are in store this spring.
  • Phil Dumatrait threw off flat ground in his side session on Friday. There had been talk of him throwing off the mound for the second time in three days, but apparently that will wait until the weekend.
  • Just before BP got going, Adam LaRoche had some fun throwing his own live bullpen session. With Ryan Doumit set up at the plate, LaRoche showcased his fastball, slider and even sidearm motion as if he were making sure that Kerrigan knows he can pitch if necessary. LaRoche has always said he’d love to get the opportunity to come in as a pitcher in a big league game sometime in his career. It was hard to tell if Kerrigan was watching LaRoche showcase his repertoire, though Doumit gave LaRoche an approving nod afterward.
  • And last but not least, the team’s annual Spring Training photo day is scheduled for Sunday morning. Also of note on Sunday — all pitchers will be taking the day off from throwing. (Wish I could take the day off and rest my arm as well.)

Until tomorrow…

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