Day 3: Daily Squeeze
Ladies and gentleman, you have your closer.
Manager Clint Hurdle informed us after workouts today that Joel Hanrahan has been named the team’s closer to begin the season. This means, of course, that Evan Meek slots into a set-up role.
You can find the full story and reaction from both players here. Reading Meek’s face, the disappointment was evident. He wanted to close. Any good reliever does. I think he realizes that his chances will come (who knows how soon), but the competitor in him believes he is ready now. The question is, how will being passed up for this spot fuel his motivation for this year? We’ll find out soon enough.
As for the rest of your workout updates:
- Matt Diaz and Pedro Ciriaco are now accounted for in camp. Both worked out with the position players on Wednesday. That means we are missing just four position players — Alex Presley, John Bowker, Ronny Cedeno and Brian Friday.
- Jose Ascanio remains MIA as well due to visa issues. Word is that he might still get here as early as Thursday, though he has to wait for his passport to be returned. This delay certainly puts him behind the rest of the pitchers.
- Not that it is big news, but Hurdle strongly hinted that Joe Beimel will be the team’s left-handed set-up man. It’s probably best to compare Beimel’s situation to what D.J. Carrasco went through last year. Just as Carrasco signed a Minor League deal fully knowing he would be added to the roster, Beimel is here knowing that unless something crazy happens, he’s on the club.
- Keep an eye on the name Jose Veras. He is a non-roster invitee, but one who is turning heads early. His experience (176 Major League relief appearances) is something that is going to help his case for a bullpen spot.
- President Frank Coonelly attended workouts on Wednesday, before speaking to the Bradenton Boosters during a luncheon. Coonelly had been in Pittsburgh to attend Chuck Tanner’s viewing on Tuesday. Kent Tekulve has also arrived to help as an instructor. He, too, was at the viewing.
- A private funeral was held for Tanner in New Castle on Wednesday.
- Andrew McCutchen and first base/baserunning/outfield coach Luis Silverio spent considerable time together discussing baserunning. The two talked about McCutchen’s tendencies when he is getting ready to steal and his first step. Hurdle has said the team is going to be aggressive on the basepath this year, so baserunning will continue to be an emphasis throughout camp.
- The pitchers had their own baserunning session as well. They also all took time to practice squaring to bunt and then pulling back to hit. Other fielding drills were mixed in.
- Hitters were focused on situational hitting during batting practice today. Thus, we did not see as many home runs as we have in recent days.
- The following 15 pitchers threw their second side session on Wednesday: Paul Maholm, Kevin Correia, Hanrahan, Veras, Beimel, Aaron Thompson, Justin Wilson, Ross Ohlendorf, James McDonald, Evan Meek, Scott Olsen, Kyle McPherson, Rudy Owens, Michael Crotta and Jeff Locke.
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