Results tagged ‘ Ramon Vazquez ’

Mariners sign Ramon Vazquez

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Ramon Vazquez, who the Pirates designated for assignment the day before Opening Day and released soon after, has been signed to a Minor League deal with Seattle. According to a Mariners press release, Vazquez will return to extended Spring Training before joining one of the organization’s Minor League teams, likely Triple-A Tacoma (Wash.).

Right now, the Pirates remain responsible for all of Vazquez’s $2 million salary for 2010. If he does move up to the Majors this year, the Mariners will pay him the Major League minimum and the figure will be subtracted from the Pirates’ debt.

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Day 41: Pirates @ Phillies

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Thanks to all of you who have stuck with me (and this blog) through the entirety of Spring Training. Seems like ages ago that I drove past 40-inch piles of snow in Pittsburgh and arrived in an unseasonably cold Florida for the start of another baseball season. Now, 2,300 miles on the rental car and too many updates about an oblique injury later, we’re about done.

I won’t be joining the team in Philadelphia over the weekend, but will be back with you for Opening Day on Monday. Here’s to hoping that this season is full of wins (for you) and full of compelling storylines (for me). The blog will continue to be an integral part of your Pirates coverage, so I hope you make it a daily Web stop throughout the season.

Here are your final set of pregame notes from Florida, where the weather has finally turned, well, Florida-like:

  • Shortstop Ronny Cedeno (tightness in lower back) is back in the lineup for the first time since Saturday. Cedeno took batting practice and fielded groundballs in Minor League camp on Wednesday to test out his back and everything was fine. He’s slotted to hit ninth, which is where he will bat this season.
  • Right-hander Hayden Penn — who is making a fast and furious attempt at earning a spot on the Opening Day roster — is scheduled to pitch today. Penn will pitch at least one inning in relief, though manager John Russell said that if that first inning is efficient and clean, Penn could come out and throw a second. Penn threw 10 pitches in a one-inning Minor League appearance on Tuesday.
  • The Pirates will be joined by a handful of Minor Leaguers today and through the weekend in Philly. About a dozen players who will start the season with Double-A Altoona will make the trip north with the big leaguers to serve as extras over the weekend.
  • Fifth starter Daniel McCutchen will make his final start of the spring today. I don’t have the listed pitch count for him, though I’d guess it would be about 70-80. Since he is not scheduled to make his first regular season appearance until Saturday, April 10, McCutchen will throw again in between.
  • Both Joel Hanrahan and Charlie Morton will stay behind in Florida as the rest of the club boards a charter flight to Philly tonight. Morton will throw in a Minor League game down here on Sunday to stay on schedule. Hanrahan will continue to throw in Minor League games to get the innings in that he missed earlier this spring because of an elbow injury.
  • The Pirates haven’t ruled out going all the way until 3 pm ET on Sunday to make their final roster decisions. That’s the deadline to do so. Right now the wild card is Penn. If the Pirates decide to put him in the ‘pen, then one of Ramon Vazquez, John Raynor and Steve Pearce will fill out the bench. If Penn doesn’t make the club, two of those three position players will likely begin the season on the team. And don’t count out the Pirates swinging a trade in the next few days, especially one involving Vazquez.
  • Ross Ohlendorf (Friday) and Paul Maholm (Saturday) will make the two exhibition starts in Philadelphia. That will be the final spring tuneup for both.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  3. Ryan Church (RF)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  6. Jeff Clement (1B)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Daniel McCutchen (RHP)
  9. Ronny Cedeno (SS)

Phillies lineup:

  1. Jimmy Rollins (SS)
  2. Placido Polanco (3B)
  3. Chase Utley (2B)
  4. Ryan Howard (1B)
  5. Jayson Werth (RF)
  6. Raul Ibanez (LF)
  7. Shane Victorino (CF)
  8. Carlos Ruiz (C)
  9. Jamie Moyer (LHP)

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Sifting through the options…

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

So, the goodbye to Brandon Moss cleared up one question the Pirates had remaining this spring, but it sure seems to have clarified little else. In fact, I’m actually finding more questions than before at this point.

Let’s roll through some of them really quickly, keeping in mind that the club has until 3 pm ET on Sunday to solidify its Opening Day roster…

  • Where does RHP Hayden Penn fit?

General manager Neal Huntington made it clear on Monday that Penn, who the team claimed off waivers, will have every chance to make the club. He’s likely to only get two to three appearances at most this week before the decision has to be made, so his chance at making the Opening Day roster will largely lie on how he fares. His numbers this spring haven’t been exceptional; in fact, in his last two outings, Penn has allowed nine earned runs in a combined 4 2/3 innings. 

One thing that muddies Penn’s future is the fact that he is out of options. That means that if the Pirates start him on the 25-man roster and decide to move him out (either because of ineffectiveness or to make room for Joel Hanrahan), the club would risk losing him on waivers. You would think that the Pirates didn’t make this waiver claim without planning on it being beneficial for more than a week or so.

  • What does this mean for the Jack Taschner?

Yesterday, I was pretty certain that Jack Taschner was going to be the sixth man in the Pirates’ bullpen to begin the season. Knowing that Hanrahan will be available beginning the second week of the season, this sixth spot was effectively the last long-term one to fill. With Penn in the mix now, this all changes.

Sure, there’s always the option of keeping both Taschner and Penn, though Hanrahan would squeeze someone out of a spot a week later. The problem is that Taschner and Penn are both out of options. So if you start one in the Majors and then want to send him down, you’re dealing with waivers again. And with the way Taschner has pitched this spring, I don’t see him getting through unclaimed.

The likely scenario is that one of these two starts in the Minors so you don’t have to worry about the lack of an option right away. Or could the Pirates have something else in mind — say, sending someone like Evan Meek down when Hanrahan returns since he does have an option remaining.

Oh, so many scenarios…

  • How about the rest of the relief candidates?

Clearly, the acquisition of Penn is not good news for the other non-roster relievers trying to make this club. Guys like Jeff Karstens, Vinnie Chulk and Brian Bass were seen as legitimate candidates to be a placeholder for Hanrahan. It would seem that their chances of being on the Opening  Day roster, though, just took a hit.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean they won’t be up at some point. Relievers always come and go throughout the season, and the Pirates need the depth.

  • Is this good news for John Raynor?

With Moss out of the outfielder mix, this would seem to suggest that the Pirates are leaning toward making Raynor their fifth bench player. With Raynor, you have a player that is still raw in a lot of areas, but the Pirates obviously see long-term potential if they’ve kept him around this long.

The Pirates’ bench right now has Bobby Crosby, Ryan Church, Delwyn Young and a backup catcher on it. That would seem to leave one spot open for Raynor, Ramon Vazquez and Steve Pearce. Because Pearce has an option left, my guess is he’ll be squeezed out of consideration and will start in Triple-A. Vazquez is owed $2 million, but he won’t be around past this year anyways, so Raynor is the better investment for the long term.

It would sure seem that things are looking good for the Rule 5 pick to at least start the season on the Major League roster.

  • Will the Pirates open with six or seven relievers?

Good question, and it’s one the Pirates are still asking themselves. How Penn does this week could play a role in this. Where Hanrahan is in his rehab could affect it as well. It would seem, though, that if the Pirates start with just six relievers (and, in turn, a six-man bench), it would only be until Hanrahan is ready to return. Then in order to make room for Hanrahan, the Pirates could eliminate one of the extra bench guys or Daniel McCutchen.

My guess is that it would be McCutchen, simply because the Pirates don’t need him to start the second and third times through the order. He could get his first start in, go back to Triple-A and start regularly there and then be ready for a call up once the Pirates need a fifth starter again. At that time, the club could go with McCutchen or Kevin Hart, but we won’t get into that discussion just yet.

If you do this, you’d be able to keep the six-man bench and have seven relievers.

There could be a benefit to a six-man bench. It could give the Pirates an additional few weeks to try and trade Vazquez, instead of releasing him and eating his $2 million salary. It could also give the organization additional time to evaluate Raynor and decide if he can stick all year.

Obviously, I asked plenty more questions than I answered. But I just wanted to think outloud here for a few minutes to try and get you thinking about what decisions management is left pondering. There are so many different ways things can go, and keep in mind that the team could make a trade or waiver claim tomorrow that changes the dyanmics of everything.

If nothing else, this all gives you something to follow during this final week of spring.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 35: Pirates @ Astros

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

We’re going to get away from Spring Training just briefly and revisit a project I did over the offseason. MLB.com took on the task of selecting an All-Decade Team for each of the 30 clubs, and we did that by enlisting the opinions of some people that had been around the team for all 10 years. This was especially helpful to me considering I didn’t jump on the beat until 2007. I served as a moderator for the panel, but did not have a vote in the decisions.

Anyways, you can see the results of our panel discussion here. As you’ll read, some of the selections were obvious and unanimous. Others, well, were not.

What stood out to me more than anything else, though, was the lack of good starting pitching from start to finish last decade. It was almost as we had to select the best of the worst at some points. There was hardly a dominant pitcher and rarely even a dominant season. If you want to know why this team did not approach .500 last decade, I think it sits with the starters. It’s just another reminder that pitching wins. And it underscores how important the Pirates’ staff is going to be this season.

Feel free to discuss the All-Decade team if you’d like. I’m sure opinions will differ on a handful of spots. If nothing else, it’s always good to reminisce.

Back in the Spring Training realm…

  • Most of the team veterans got the day off on Friday because of the long trip to Kissimmee. The drive here is a bit over two hours and is the longest of the spring. The biggest veteran exception is Ramon Vazquez, who is starting at third today. But the Pirates are also trying to showcase him for potential trade suitors, so the fact that he’s playing shouldn’t be a surprise.
  • Closer Octavio Dotel is back at Pirate City today throwing one inning in a Minor League game. If we are able to get a report on how that goes, I’ll be sure to pass it along.
  • Joel Hanrahan pitches in a Minor League contest on Saturday.
  • Last night, the Pirates announced they had reached a long-term deal with FSN Pittsburgh that guarantees a minimum of 150 games will be televised every year. Today, the Pirates announced that the number will be 156 for 2010.
  • Just me speaking here, but I don’t imagine there will be any cuts until Monday. Though there are still 37 players in Major League camp (35 if you don’t count Hanrahan and Jose Ascanio, both of whom will start on the DL),  the Pirates need as many bodies as they can get on Sunday because of two split-squad games.
  • Speaking of Sunday, it looks like Ross Ohlendorf will start against the Rays in Port Charlotte and D.J. Carrasco will get the starting assignment against the Phillies in Clearwater. Dotel will also pitch somewhere that day, though it’s unsure where right now.
  • As for Saturday, Daniel McCutchen will be making his first start of the spring. It’s about time considering he is going to be the team’s fifth starter to begin the season. He’s scheduled to be followed by Brendan Donnelly, Evan Meek, Steven Jackson and Jeff Karstens.

Pirates lineup:

  1. John Raynor (CF)
  2. Delwyn Young (2B)
  3. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Jeff Clement (1B)
  6. Bobby Crosby (SS)
  7. Ramon Vazquez (3B)
  8. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Pitchers: Duke, Anthony Claggett, Jack Taschner, Javier Lopez

Astros lineup:

  1. T.J. Steele (CF)
  2. Jeff Keppinger (2B)
  3. Jason Michaels (RF)
  4. Carlos Lee (LF)
  5. Geoff Blum (1B)
  6. Pedro Feliz (3B)
  7. Edwin Maysonet (SS)
  8. Humberto Quintero (C)
  9. Roy Oswalt (RHP)

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Day 30: Rays @ Pirates

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

n15901182_36884191_8270.jpgSo if you’ve never called Columbia, Missouri, home, you’re never going to understand the joys of Shakespeare’s Pizza, Shake’s frozen custard and the quad. And you’re surely not going to understand how sweet a kU loss is to all of us proud Mizzou grads. I’ve already ordered my Northern Iowa t-shirt. It’ll join the collection (Bradley, Bucknell, etc.)

Learning to despise the jayhawks (I mean, chickenhawks) is essentially a part of your college experience. As a freshman you learn never to capitalize the ‘k’ in kU because it’s neither a proper place, nor a proper noun. And there’s just something about that rock chalk chant that makes you cringe.

But all is well in the rivalry that dates back to the Civil War (no joke). Mizzou is still alive in the tourney and kansas is thinking about another failed NCAA run. And I’ve never been so content to have my bracket ruined on the first weekend of the tournament.

Now if only the Tigers could knock off West Virginia later this afternoon. Then this weekend (despite today’s crummy rainy weather) would be perfect. Hey, it’s March — anything can happen, right?

OK, so I know you’re on here for baseball, so I’ll oblige in that department as well…

  • The much anticipated spring debut of Octavio Dotel will happen Sunday afternoon, as long as that aforementioned rain doesn’t get in the way. The rain has stopped for the time being, but it is supposed to pick up again mid-afternoon. Dotel is scheduled to throw one inning (likely the sixth).
  • Right-hander Joel Hanrahan and lefty Wil Ledezma threw live BP on Sunday morning. Hanrahan threw 26 pitches — all fastballs and sliders. Hanrahan is scheduled to throw in a Minor League game on Wednesday. Though Hanrahan could pitch in a Grapefruit League game, the Pirates will likely keep him pitching in the Minors so that they can back date him on the DL to start the season.
  • Ramon Vazquez (sore left shoulder/collarbone) took swings in the cage this morning and said he is fine. He is available to play on Sunday if needed.
  • Reliever Javier Lopez remains away from the team to be with his wife, who is about to give birth to the couple’s first child.
  • Monday may be a team off-day, but it won’t be for everyone. Kevin Hart will start a Minor League game over at Pirate City on Monday. He is scheduled to throw 60-65 pitches. I plan on attending, so I’ll be sure to bring you an assessment later tomorrow afternoon. Evan Meek (40 pitches) and Chris Jakubauskas (30-40 pitches) will also make appearances in that game.
  • Pirate City is hosting an intrasquad game today, with Zach Duke making the start. He’ll be followed by Brendan Donnelly, Jean Machi, Anthony Claggett and Steven Jackson. I’ll bring you the results of those outings later this afternoon.
  • For those of you not glued to basketball, don’t forget that today’s game will be televised on FSN Pittsburgh. You will get to see Daniel McCutchen make his first start in a Grapefruit League game, so it’s likely worth tuning in.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  3. Jeff Clement (1B)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF) 
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  7. Bobby Crosby (DH)
  8. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  9. John Raynor (CF)

Pitchers: McCutchen (4 innings, 65 pitches), Vinnie Chulk, Dotel, Brian Burres, Brian Bass, Jack Taschner

Rays lineup:

  1. Jason Bartlett (SS)
  2. Gabe Kapler (RF)
  3. Evan Longoria (3B)
  4. Carlos Pena (1B)
  5. Pat Burrell (LF)
  6. Sean Rodriguez (2B)
  7. Kelly Shoppach (C)
  8. Justin Ruggiano (CF)
  9. Ryan Shealy (DH)

Pitchers: Andy Sonnanstine

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Day 28: Red Sox @ Pirates

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The big news of the morning, obviously, was that Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata were among eight players cut. I’ve already dedicated a blog entry to the news and there will be a story up on pirates.com soon to go into more detail.

The eight subtractions leave the Pirates with 45 players participating in Major League camp. You can really make that number 44 considering Jose Ascanio is still listed but obviously will start the year on the DL. And two more — Joel Hanrahan and Wil Ledezma – haven’t thrown a pitch in a game yet because of injuries.

All this aside, the Pirates still have plenty of questions to answer in the next two weeks…

  • Who gets the final two bullpen spots?
  • What will the Pirates do with the fifth spot in the rotation?
  • Who will be on the bench?
  • Where will Ramon Vazquez end up?
  • Will Rule 5 pick John Raynor be returned to Florida?
  • How will the Pirates line up the rotation and who gets the nod for Opening Day?

Though this has been a very slow camp in terms of news, there is reason to pay attention these next two weeks. There will be some important decisions to make and a handful of guys here will soon find out if they have a long-term future with Pittsburgh.

Other stuff…

  • Not much else to report. In case you didn’t see it yesterday, Octavio Dotel threw one inning in a Minor League game on Thursday and will make his Grapefruit League debut on Sunday. I saw Dotel this morning and he reported feeling really good.
  • And in breaking news, it looks like Paul Maholm won’t have to start against the Yankees or Red Sox again his next time out. He drew Friday’s start against Boston, which means that all of his four starts so far have been against the American League East’s big guns. 
  • Working on an Inbox to run on the off day Monday. If you have a question, please send it to jenifer.langosch@mlb.com and include your first name, last initial and hometown. If you could put “Inbox” in the subject line, that will keep it from getting lost. Thanks!

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  3. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  4. Garrett Jones (DH)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  7. Jeff Clement (1B)
  8. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  9. Delwyn Young (RF)

Pitchers: Paul Maholm, Vinnie Chulk, Brendan Donnelly, Evan Meek, Brian Burres

Red Sox lineup:

  1. Mike Cameron (CF)
  2. Dustin Pedroia (2B)
  3. Victor Martinez (1B)
  4. David Ortiz (DH)
  5. Jason Varitek (C)
  6. Jeremy Hermida (LF)
  7. Bill Hall (SS)
  8. Tug Hulett (3B)
  9. Josh Reddick (RF)

Pitchers: Josh Beckett, Scott Atchison, Brian Shouse, Junichi Tazawa

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Pirates 3, Phillies 3

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Yes, there are ties in baseball. But really, who would have thought this one would have ended with only six total runs scored after five runners touched the plate before the end of the first? Certainly not me.

***

Saturday’s McKechnie Field opener commenced with Petrina McCutchen — yes, that center fielder Andrew McCutchen’s mom — singing the national anthem. She did a fabulous job, too, at least in my opinion. The more Spring Training games you go to the more shaky national anthem renditions you start hearing. Ms. McCutchen, however, was legitimately impressive.

Andrew was gone from the clubhouse before the game ended so I wasn’t able to get his reaction to his mom’s performance postgame, but he did treat her to a 2-for-2 performance in his third start of the spring. McCutchen also drew a walk and scored once. He swiped one base (his first of the spring) but was caught stealing trying to do it again in the fifth.

Look for him to continue being aggressive on the basepath, as he has made it a goal to steal more this season.

***

The Pirates’ other multi-hit game belonged to outfielder Ryan Church, who drove a Joe Blanton pitch easily over the right-field wall for a two-run homer in the first.

***

Infielder Ramon Vazquez made his return to the field on Saturday and his right knee seemed to hold up just fine. This was Vazquez’s first game appearance of the spring. You’ll remember he started camp a bit slow after undergoing right knee surgery this offseason.

“He moved pretty well today,” manager John Russell said. “That’s a good sign. Again, the swing and everything is continuing to progress. But the big thing for Ramon is just making sure he’s healthy and moving him around. He played a nice game at second.”

Vazquez started an exceptional double play in the first (Kevin Hart owes him big time) with a diving stop up the middle. He flipped the ball to shortstop Bobby Crosby, who caught it barehanded and finished the twin killing.

***

Speaking of defense, Crosby was fun to watch at short today. In addition to that first inning double plate, he made a sensational diving stop on a ball way out to his right. He then reacted perfectly to a ball ricocheting off D.J Carrasco and threw out a speedy Dominic Brown at first.

Before the game started, Crosby took groundballs at first, short and third. He’s going to continue to get work all around the infield and might even get some time in the corner outfield spots.

***

On the pitching side of things, it was a rough day for Hart (you can read more about his outing on the pirates.com site). Another eight pitchers, though, combined for nine innings and one run allowed.

Personally, I was particularly impressed by Brendan Donnelly, Carrasco and Jack Taschner. For noting some disjointedness in his mechanics earlier this spring, Donnelly came out firing strikes and finished his perfect inning with ease.

Carrasco allowed just two baserunners in two innings and was much more efficient than Hart. He also pulled out the side arm delivery against right-handed batters.

Taschner — who struck out Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez and John Mayberry in the fifth — has now made two scoreless appearances. Of the six outs he’s record, five have come via a strikeout.

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Day 12: Daily Squeeze

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

final day at Pirate City.jpgWe’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

Day 11: Daily Squeeze

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Aki Iwamura.jpgSecond baseman Aki Iwamura might be rivaling Andrew McCutchen as the most popular player here at Spring Training. It seems the Floridians who watched him play three seasons with the Rays fell in love with the guy. There was an adorable little boy yelling, “Aki! Aki! Aki!” all through the team’s infield drills. And the hoarde of autograph seekers seemed to make Iwamura a priority. You’ll see that in the photo that I snapped with my phone earlier.

As for the rest of your daily squeeze:

  • There’s still no date for Octavio Dotel to begin throwing again, though it’s still expected to be sometime next week. Joel Hanrahan is still on target to have his first long toss session on Wednesday. Both pitchers will move with the team to McKechnie Field to get their work rather than stay at Pirate City.
  • Today was the fourth day of live BP and it featured righty Brendan Donnelly for the first time. He had skipped his first session to throw a normal side instead. Again, there is no reason to be alarmed. He’s just being given more time to get ready since he doesn’t need as many Grapefruit League innings.
  • Bullpen catcher Heberto Andrade has arrived in Bradenton after being held up in Venezuela with visa issues.
  • For all of you Pittsburghers curious as to the status of hometown boy Neil Walker, here’s a piece about what’s in store for him this spring. 
  • Bobby Crosby worked with the second baseman during infield practice on Sunday. The Pirates plan on getting him reps all over the infield so that he can be a backup option anywhere. Steve Pearce spent the day working with the outfielders, while Garrett Jones stuck to infield work. Besides taking groundballs as usual, infielders also worked on pop-ups.
  • Hitting coach Don Long had a situational hitting game going on at Field 5 for much of the morning. Here was the premise: A runner is on third and your corner infielders are playing in. On the infield grass, stretching from short to second, Long placed orange and black traffic cones. The goal was for the batters to hit balls low and hard in the direction of the cones to drive the imaginary runner in. If your hit gets him home, that’s 1 point. Hit an orange cone: 2 points. Knock an orange cone down: 5 points. Hit a black cone: 5 points. Knock a black cone down: 15 points.
  • The winner of the drill was the infield group of Crosby, Iwamura, Ronny Cedeno, Ramon Vazquez. In one five-swing sequence, Crosby recorded 19 points (he knocked down a black cone obviously). That was the high round of the day.
  • It was photo day in the morning, and players/coaches/manager had their photos taken by 12 outlets.
  • Monday marks the final day of workouts at Pirate City before all the activities move over to McKechnie Field
  • If you’re reading this on Sunday afternoon, close the browser and go watch some hockey. Big game between USA and Canada is on in case you missed the memo.

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Day 5: Daily Squeeze

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Walker, Neil 2.jpgEveryone is here and accounted for and was more than 24 hours before the Pirates have their first full squad workout. (That will be Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. There is a full team meeting an hour earlier).

The final few missing position players to trickle in this morning included Andrew McCutchen, Lastings Milledge, Ronny Cedeno, Gorkys Hernandez and Argenis Diaz. It might have been a dangerous move to put McCutchen and Milledge in adjacent lockers in the clubhouse. The two are sure to liven up the atmosphere in a hurry.

As for the rest of your notes from a sunny Bradenton Monday:

  • Position players who had not yet undergone physicals spent much of the day in that process.
  • Most of the position players went on the field for workouts, though not all. Two that I did not see on participating in workouts were Brandon Moss and Akinori Iwamura, though both were around the clubhouse afterward.
  • Neil Walker (pictured above) spent time fielding grounders at third and second. Again, he’s getting work in wherever he can. Bobby Crosby also did some moving around. After working on his defense at short, Crosby spent some time fielding grounders at third.
  • Infielder Ramon Vazquez said he has been encouraged by the progress of his surgically-repaired knee these last few days. Vazquez is fielding grounders hit right to him and did some sprints at 70 percent Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He is scheduled to take batting practice for the first time on Tuesday.
  • A handful of the Minor League players have already begun reporting for Minor League camp. I spotted Daniel Moskos (No. 4 overall pick in 2007 Draft) among them.
  • The second group of pitchers had their second side session of spring on Monday after another 40 minutes of defensive drills.
  • Among the Pirates alum who are here helping out at Spring Training are Manny Sanguillen, Kent Tekulve and Bill Virdon. I’ve been told that Bill Mazeroski is set to arrive later this week.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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