Results tagged ‘ Chuck Tanner ’

Bucs to honor Tanner with patch

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

On the right sleeve of the Pirates’ jerseys this year will be a commemorative patch designed to honor former Pirates manager Chuck Tanner. Tanner died on February 11, at the age of 82.

The patch features a black No. 7 (Tanner’s uniform number) enclosed in a gold “Stargell Star.”

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 3: Daily Squeeze

Hanrahan, Joel.jpgJenifer Langosch/MLB.com

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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Chuck Tanner, truly one of a kind

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

I know I’m late — I just returned from a week of vacation time — but I would be remiss not to offer my condolences to the family of Chuck Tanner in the wake of Tanner’s passing on Friday. I had known for weeks now that Tanner was not doing well and that he likely wouldn’t make it to the 2011 baseball season. But it’s only beginning to sink in now that Tanner won’t be roaming around the Pirate City grounds wearing a smile and his beige Pirates bucket hat this week.

Of the many people I have been fortunate to meet in this game, few (if any) were as generous and sincere with their time as Tanner. He always had time for you. Always.

I’d often find Tanner during the early Spring Training workout days and just sit down next to him and listen. Listen to his stories about past Pirates success. Listen to his observations about the team’s up-and-coming players. He never ran out of stories, and he had a keen eye for talent.

During the season, I’d catch up with Tanner in the media lunch room. After finding out that I often wrote four, five, six stories in a day, he’d always ask me what number I was on that day as we chatted. Tanner joked about how he just didn’t understand how I could find that much to write about.

There would be other times when I’d call him on the phone, needing his insight for a particular piece I was working on. I’d get Tanner’s thoughts on the given subject and often much more. He’d share life principles and wisdom. It was like talking to a grandfather, and I’ll miss those conversations.

I don’t expect to meet many other people like Tanner in my lifetime. They just don’t come around all that often. But I count myself among the many both fortunate enough to have gotten to know him and forever touched by the legacy he leaves behind.

For those in the Pittsburgh area who wish to pay their respects to Tanner, there will be a public viewing from 4-7 pm on Tuesday at the Cunningham Funeral Home in New Castle.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 6: Daily Squeeze

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

full squad takes the field (Small).jpgIt was the first day of full squad workouts here at Pirate City and the sun certainly came out to greet the masses. As you’ll read on the main site, the day started with a 9 a.m. meeting in which all 66 players listened to president Frank Coonelly and owner Bob Nutting speak.

This will fill you in the rest of the day’s activities:

  • Right-hander Octavio Dotel sat out of workouts on Tuesday because of a sore left side. The injury isn’t expected to keep him out of action for more than a few days. Let’s hope.
  • On a related note, we (a handful of writers) got a taste of what to expect from Dotel this season. Seeing that he wasn’t out on the field, we went to go track him down in the clubhouse. When Dotel was asked about a potential injury, he told one writer that it was a right knee issue that would keep him out for a few days. Writer No. 2 was told a minute later that it was a left knee injury, and that he would be back tomorrow. Huh? Minutes later, Dotel came back into the room laughing, telling us that he had pulled a fast one over us. He had no knee injury. It was an issue with his side. Good thing none of us had pulled out our phone to tweet. I’ll remember that for the future…
  • Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski has arrived in Bradenton and spent the day working with the team’s infielders. Former Pirates manager Chuck Tanner also made his first Spring Training appearance and spent much of the day sitting on a golf cart signing autographs for fans.
  • Infielders, outfielders and catchers spent about 30 minutes on defensive drills on Tuesday. And you can tell what the depth chart looks like by how they were divided. On the first field of infielders were Jeff Clement and Garrett Jones (1B); Akinori Iwamura and Ramon Vazquez (2B); Ronny Cedeno and Bobby Crosby (SS); Andy LaRoche and Pedro Alvarez (3B). On the second field, you had Steve Pearce and Brian Myrow (1B); Argenis Diaz and Delwyn Young (2B); Brian Friday (SS); Doug Bernier and Neil Walker (3B).
  • Vazquez (right knee) continued to take grounders right at him but did not participate in fielding drills that required side-to-side movement. He was cleared to take BP for the first time, though.
  • At this time last year, all of us were enthralled with “Camp Perry.” Infield instructor Perry Hill was an extremely vocal presence on the field and could be heard yards away. It’s a little quieter this year, and manager John Russell apparently noticed. “It’s OK to talk,” he quipped as he came to observe infield drills. “Let’s act like we’re having some fun.”
  • A total of 15 pitchers threw side sessions on Tuesday. One person who looked remarkedly more comfortable was Brendan Donnelly, who talked afterward about feeling out of sync during his first two times on the mound.
  • Pitchers will begin throwing live BP on Wednesday. They will throw two innings (one inning consists of 17 pitches). Half of the pitches will be from the windup and half from the stretch. The only exception to the two-inning deal is for Donnelly, who will throw one inning of 25 pitches.
  • Players have all sorts of to-do items this week as things get going. The people who take all the photos and film the clips for the video board at PNC Park are here to get all of that done before games start next week. Each player goes up into a makeshift studio one-by-one to be filmed. There’s also media awareness training going on this week. The 20-minute session will introduce players to who we are and hopefully they’re told to be nice.
  • Excuse the shameless plug here, but Pirates PR guy Dan Hart has been busy with the flip cam all spring and has all sorts of great footage and interviews that he’s putting on the site. You can find Dan’s videos on the top right-hand side of pirates.com. I would really recommend checking them out. There was a nice one on Ryan Doumit yesterday and a piece on Brad Lincoln that was posted today. I just wanted to make sure that Dan’s work wasn’t going unnoticed.
  • MLB Network is doing its “30 Clubs in 30 Days” series again this spring. The Pirates will be featured on March 7 at 5 p.m.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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