Day 24: Pirates @ Yankees

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The Pirates have their first of three spring night games tonight and it comes against the Yankees up here in Tampa. The contrast between the Yankees’ Spring Training park — George M. Steinbrenner Field, to be precise — and every other one strikes me every year. It’s as grandiose as a Florida Spring Training facility gets, though I’m not sure that’s something to brag about.

One of the neatest aspects of Spring Training, in my opinion, is the intimacy of the ballparks. Fans who come to Pirate City or McKechnie Field stand just feet away from Pirates players. The access is tremendous. Here, not so much. The ballpark is nice, yes, but also a bit stuffy. But I guess old charm isn’t what a team like New York is going for.

On an entirely different note… I know that when you get online each day you are have a limited amount of minutes to spend reading the news. I understand that you don’t have time to read everything — I’m in the same boat — but I do want to turn your attention to a story I wrote today about A.J. Johnson.

My hope is that you’ll read it, not because I wrote it, but rather to get some perspective. Instead of reading about Scott Olsen’s hamstring or Joe Beimel’s elbow for one day, I hope you enjoy a story about a young man whose story will make you think twice about how much a baseball game really matters. And I just hope I was able to give A.J.’s story the justice it is due.

You can find the story here.

As for the rest of your news…

  • I was not at Tuesday’s game against the Twins, but I hear that Steve Pearce looked just fine at third base. Now that Pearce has gotten some game time in during a “B” game, you’d have to expect that he will play some third in a regular Grapefruit League game sometime soon.
  • Speaking of corner utility players, I would have to believe that the Pirates are going to have to start whittling down their list soon. With Pearce, Andy Marte, Josh Fields and Garrett Atkins all essentially fighting for one bench spot, there is not going to be enough playing time to go around. Especially not when you consider that Lyle Overbay and Pedro Alvarez need to get their work in, too. Don’t be surprised if one of the four bench candidates gets sent out of camp soon.
  • Back at McKechnie Field, Gillette and ESPN are filming some national TV commercial today/tonight. Among those appearing in the commercial are ESPN personality Kenny Mayne and Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.
  • Scott Olsen and Joe Beimel both threw at Pirate City on Tuesday and everything went without incident. The club has not announced what the next step is for either. Olsen, at least, should be ready to start pitching in games soon. That is especially necessary if the Pirates still want time to build him up as a starter.
  • The following pitchers will throw for the Pirates in Thursday’s night game against the Orioles: Paul Maholm (four innings), Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Chris Resop, Jeff Karstens, Tony Watson.
  • That game on Thursday is also a night game (7:05 p.m. ET scheduled first pitch) and will be televised back in Pittsburgh on FSN.
  • Tonight’s game can be heard on 104.7 FM for those of you back in the ‘Burgh.
  • Remember Brendan Donnelly, the veteran reliever who spent a few months with Pittsburgh last year? He has told MLB.com that he has officially retired.

Lineups:

PIRATES: A. McCutchen (CF), C. d’Arnaud (2B), P. Alvarez (3B), M. Diaz (LF), G. Jones (RF), S. Pearce (1B), C. Snyder (C), P. Ciriaco (SS), K. Correia (RHP)

Pitchers: K. Correia (four innings), C. Morton (three), D. McCutchen, J. Veras

YANKEES: D. Jeter (SS), R. Martin (C), M. Teixeira (1B), A. Rodriguez (DH), R. Cano (2B), A. Jones (LF), E. Chavez (3B), J. Maxwell (RF), M. Mesa (CF)

Pitchers: B. Colon, M. Banuelos, R. Soriano, P. Feliciano, D. Turpen, L. Ayala

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

1 Comment

Jenifer:

Great article on A.J. Johnson today. I really liked the whole tenor of the story and that it focused on a person first rather than yet another baseball player. Tragic as the accident was you gave it, and his life, such a positive spin. You really outdid yourself and it was both heartfelt and heartwarming. The (sports) world could use a lot more like you…!

Happy Spring (where you are anyway!).

Barnes Newberry

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