Day 8 Daily Squeeze
After chilly temperatures greeted players early this morning, Saturday actually warmed up quite nicely. Manager John Russell obviously didn’t need the sunshine to count this as a good day after starting his morning by learning that the Pirates exercised his option for 2010. GM Neal Huntington called the decision “a formality,” noting that the decision to exercise that option was pretty much made over the offseason.
Not much in terms of news and notes for the day, but here are the few observations from Day 8:
- Third baseman Andy LaRoche (stiff lower back) did not work out with the team for the third straight day. He did do some early light work in the cage, but then spent the rest of the morning in the weight room and training room. Russell reported that LaRoche is doing better, but that they wanted to ease him back into full activity. His prognosis remains day-to-day.
- After missing Friday’s workout because of illness, Neil Walker was back Saturday participating in full.
- Nine pitchers — Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Daniel McCutchen, Tom Gorzelanny, Denny Bautista, Dave Davidson, Jason Davis, John Grabow and Jeff Karstens — threw their first round of live BP. Each pitcher threw about 35 pitches, except for Karstens, who was limited to 20. He’s doing just fine, but is still just one step behind after being shut down for a short time in January.
- During defensive drills, the team focused on rundown plays, and first base coach/infield instructor Perry Hill made sure to get his workout in as well. Hill served as the baserunner in the drills.
- Pitchers will take the day off from throwing on Sunday, and workouts are expected to be light in general. Said Russell: “This is the time in Spring Training that we start to monitor stiffness and things. We’ll give them a little bit of a blow so we can regroup.”
- Players will be participating in photo day from 7:30-9:30 am tomorrow before taking the field around 10 am. Workouts are expected to last until about noon.
Quotable: “The hard work is starting to pay off. You see the commitment from the front office in where we are going, the help I get from our staff, and the way the players react to what we are trying to do. It all ties in together and makes my job more enjoyable. I can’t say enough about what the organization has done and the direction we are headed. Things are really exciting around Pittsburgh now.” — manager John Russell