-- A little winter ball news: Lastings Milledge has started playing in Venezuela and is 6-for-14 so far; Sean Gallagher has walked 10 batters in 11 innings in the VWL; Josh Harrison has a .333 BA and .593 slugging average for Mesa in Arizona, with ten of his 18 hits going for extra bases; Andy LaRoche is hitting .146 for Bravos de Margarita; Charlie Morton has pitched four scoreless innings in the Dominican with 5 K's, and Aaron Pribanic has yet to be scored on in 8 innings in Arizona.
-- The Pirates have released their 2011 spring training schedule. It starts with the Bucs annual charity game against State College of Florida (formerly Manatee CC) on February 25th.
Then Pittsburgh will open its 34-game spring slate against the Rays in Port Charlotte on Saturday the 26th. The Rays will then travel to Bradenton the following day to face the Pirates in Pittsburgh's home opener. Pittsburgh will close out the spring with two games with Philly at Citizens Bank Park on March 29th and 30th.
The Pirates' season opener is on April Fools Day against the Cubs; 'nuff said about that bit of scheduling.
-- Wonder why the FO has staked its future on adding players like Jamison Taillon, Stetson Allie, Luis Hereda, Zack von Rosenberg, Billy Cain, Rudy Owens, Bryan Morris, Brad Lincoln and all the other young arms in the organization instead of looking for more Pedros?
It could be that the current World Series template has something to do with it. SF was only eighth in the NL in runs scored, but first in MLB in ERA. As the Pirates found out in the trade market, pitching is the one thing no team ever has too much of or gives up; it's much easier to find a bat.
-- Bud Selig told the press that he'd consider adding another wild card team to the playoffs in the future. The kicker is that none of the owners will accept a shorter season, and shoehorning an extra series is a very daunting exercise in scheduling.