Day 11 Daily Squeeze
As a spectator, today might have been the most interesting day of these 11 days that the team worked out at Pirate City. On one field you had pitching coach Joe Kerrigan jokingly making bets with pitchers and “playing to 21 points” in a fielding drill game. (After losing to Kerrigan in round one, the pitchers came back and took the final two rounds for the win).
Simultaneously, on another field, Perry Hill, teacher extraordinaire, was leading position players through cut off drills and relay throws. His now infamous “Stop It!” phrase (which he uses when giving a player a compliment) was loud and frequent.
The day then ended with a few rounds of batting practice before players skirted off the field and out of the complex. Everyone will be reporting to McKechnie Field beginning tomorrow as Grapefruit League games get underway.
Other news and notes from the day:
- Infielder Luis Cruz is likely to be out for about a week after suffering a strained left hip flexor on Tuesday. Cruz is in competition to earn a spot on the Opening Day roster as a backup infielder
- It was encouraging to see second baseman Freddy Sanchez making relay throws from the outfield grass on Tuesday. You’ll remember that last year he couldn’t do that all spring because of his arm issues. Under guidance from Perry, Sanchez has changed his positioning a bit and tweaked his mechanics on his throws in order to put less stress on his right shoulder. As a result, Sanchez is throwing comfortably from 120-150 feet now.
- Third baseman Andy LaRoche participated in full workouts for the second straight day, and this time he even took cuts during live BP. Pitchers Virgil Vasquez (sore arm) and Brian Slocum (strained hamstring) both were held back from throwing again.
- Seven pitchers — Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Daniel McCutchen, Dave Davidson, Jeff Karstens, John Grabow, Jason Davis and Denny Bautista — threw their second round of live BP on Tuesday. All, except Bautista, threw 35 pitches. Bautista was limited to 20.
- The MLB Network will be revealing the final World Baseball Classic Rosters later tonight at 6 p.m. ET. You can expect to see Ian Snell and Ramon Vazquez on Team Puerto Rico and Dave Davidson on the Canadian team. There are also a number of Pirates Minor League players who may be on those final rosters.
Quotable: “It’s time [for games]. We’ve accomplished a lot here. We got a lot done. It doesn’t stop, but I think we’ve done what we need to do to start the game process and the evaluations that go along with that. It’s time to take that next step.” — manager John Russell
On Deck: The Pirates will face the defending World Series Champion Phillies on Wednesday as teams open up their Grapefruit League schedule. It’s a home game at McKechnie Field, with the first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. ET.
Non-roster invitee Chris Bootcheck will pitch the first inning of the game and will be followed by Matt Capps, Donald Veal, Romulo Sanchez, Ronald Uviedo, Juan Mateo, Craig Hansen, Evan Meek and Jesse Chavez. Lefty Jamie Moyer will make the start for the Phillies.
Also of note for those attending Wednesday’s game: the first 2,500 fans through the gates will receive a 2009 Spring Training magnetic schedule.
For those in Pittsburgh, the game will be broadcast on WPGB 104.7. Those tuning in will get their first chance to listen to new broadcaster Tim Neverett, who was hired in December to fill the vacancy in the broadcast booth created with the departure of Lanny Frattare.