Day 3: Daily Squeeze
It was nice of the sunshine to come out after the fields at Pirate City had been cleared. But regardless, it seemed to be another successful day of workouts for the club. You’ll find stories about Jeff Clement (is he making progress at first?) and the back-up catching job (yes, it is a competition) on the main site before the end of the day. But here are the rest of your tidbits for this Saturday…
- The group of 14 pitchers that threw side sessions on Thursday had their second sides today. (Go back to your Day 1: Daily Squeeze if you want that list in full.)
- Pitchers spent another 40 minutes in fielding drills, while infielders and outfielders had their own fielding practice as well.
- After taking some groundballs at second base on Friday, Neil Walker was back with the third baseman for Saturday’s infield drills.
- Garrett Jones joined the first baseman in infield practice. He’s going to get reps both at first and in the outfield. While he’s projected to be the Pirates’ starting right fielder, there could be a need to shift Jones back to first if Jeff Clement stumbles.
- Delwyn Young arrived at Pirate City on Saturday and took the fields for workouts. He took grounders at second. Ryan Church and Aki Iwamura also went out on the fields with position players for the first time. Remember, the first full squad workout isn’t until Tuesday.
- Pirates president Frank Coonelly was seen around the Pirate City grounds mingling with fans. He also took some time to observe the pitchers’ side sessions.
- We (the media) had a lengthy session with pitching coach Joe Kerrigan after workouts, and you’ll see stuff from him spread out in stories over the next couple of days. One thing worth mentioning here, though, is the Pirates’ plan on getting Brendan Donnelly and Octavio Dotel ready for the season. Kerrigan said the plan isn’t to get them into Grapefruit League games immediately and to limit their work to about 11-12 innings in total. Because they are both experienced pitchers, there isn’t the same need to push Donnelly and Dotel as hard as early.
- A couple of Kerrigan’s goals this spring are to help Brad Lincoln improve his changeup and to work with D.J. Carrasco to make him more effective against left-handed hitters. Lefty hitters batted .317 against Carrasco in 2009.
- In case you missed it, here was a piece I did yesterday on Kevin Hart and his battle to win the final spot in the rotation. Kerrigan had this to say about Hart today: “He’s done really well this winter. He’s put a lot of hard work in. He’s been really impressive. He looks like he’s been [using that delivery motion] for a while. Last year it looked a little raw, a little rough. This year it has more of a flow to it. He’s dancing with it. He looks smooth now. There is no jerkiness. It looks natural to him now. He’s been downhill instead of flat.”
- Workouts are scheduled to begin around 10 a.m. again on Sunday.
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