Day 12: Daily Squeeze
We’re moving on to bigger and better things, folks. Like real games. OK, maybe it’s unfair to call them real games since they don’t count. But at least there is something to start evaluating. Today was the last day of workouts at Pirate City (sad times) as everything moves over to McKechnie Field from now through April 1.
The transition was evident, too. As the 66 guys in Major League camp were packing up the clubhouse, all sorts of Minor League players begin filing in. Early camp for Minor Leaguers began on Monday and about 75 players showed up. Pitchers and catchers are required to report by March 5, though farm director Kyle Stark said that just about everyone will be at Pirate City by then.
Here’s your last workout daily squeeze until 2011…
- Short workout days are always good and Monday was one more of those. Live batting practice has ended, so most pitchers finished their PFPs and were done. A group of nine — Ross Ohlendorf, Jeff Karstens, Steven Jackson, Brad Lincoln, Virgil Vasquez, Paul Maholm, D.J. Carrasco, Jack Taschner and Chris Jakubauskas — threw a 25-40 pitch side session.
- Position players had another session of defensive drills and all took batting practice. The day ended with some practice sliding, though the absence of Nyjer Morgan made that a bit less entertaining than usual. Some observations from watching the infielders. …
- Andy LaRoche and Neil Walker sure can hold their own defensively. You would never know Walker wasn’t always a third baseman. …
- Jeff Clement looks just fine most of the time, but then there are moments where you see that he has much more work to do to get comfortable at first. I think that’s one of the biggest obstacles — feeling comfortable there. How he looks defensively during games will be very telling. …
- Though he continues to wear a knee brace, Aki Iwamura does not seem hampered by his surgically repaired left knee. He’ll be monitored as Grapefruit League play begins, but GM Neal Huntington said Iwamura will not be limited.
- Infielder Ramon Vazquez also looks just fine running around fielding groundballs even after being minimally limited when camp opened. Manager John Russell said he might limit Vazquez’s playing time for the first few games, but that’s all.
- I saw four rehabbing Pirates — Jose Ascanio, Tyler Yates, Neal Cotts and Jimmy Barthmaier — throwing long toss today. All continue to slowly progress.
- For any of you who watched the USA-Canada hockey game and heard broadcaster Doc Emrick mention the Pirates gathering for a hockey watch party in Bradenton yesterday, it wasn’t true. Not sure where that false fact originated, but there was no such event. Now, plenty of players did watch the game on their own, though.
- Atlanta announced that it will start Kenshin Kawakami against the Pirates on Thursday. The Orioles will start Chris Tillman under the lights on Friday. The Yankees had already tapped Chad Gaudin as Wednesday’s starter.
- For those of you who enjoy the Jumbotron content at PNC Park, you may enjoy checking out this video. It goes behind the scenes to see how all of that is filmed during Spring Training. You’ll also get a sneak peek into what is in store for 2010.
UP NEXT: The Pirates open up against the State College of Florida on Tuesday with a seven-inning exhibition game. It doesn’t look like the weather is going to cooperate, though, so the Pirates might never get the chance to avenge last year’s loss. If there is a game, the following pitchers are scheduled to throw for an inning: Bryan Morris, Donnie Veal, Ronald Uviedo, Justin Thomas, Ramon Aguero, Jeff Sues and Anthony Claggett.
Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB