Saturday, February 21, 2015

Camp News & Notes: All Quiet On the Florida Front

It's been a pretty good start to camp. Nothing to report between sprints and bullpens, so it's been a quiet opening:
  • Everyone's here - no visa or injury problems. With six weeks to go before the games count, rehabbing AJ Burnett and Charlie Morton are on schedule, and ditto for Jameson Taillon. Jeff Locke is the only guy out, with a bug, and he's due to throw today. So far, everyone has survived the dreaded bunting drills, knock on wood.
  • And we mean everyone is here. Just about all the roster is in Florida, even tho the position players aren't due in until next week. Looks like Clint has them focused on their 2015 mission; either that or it's just too dang cold to pass up a free early bird trip to Florida.
  • Pedro is drilling at first, and coach Kevin Young is with him. As you may recall, Young made the third-to-first switch, albeit at the start of his career, and should know the pitfalls that await El Toro during the transition. Alvarez seems to have bought into the corner swap, reports that his fractured foot is completely healed, and is rarin' to go.
Pedro taking some balls at first. (Photo: David Arrigo/Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • Jung Ho Kang (pronounced "Khung") is taking balls at short. Later they'll work him at third - both are positions he's already played - with second being a down the road position.
  • A sidebar worth watching will be the transitions Kang and Francisco Cervelli make. Jung Ho has to transition to an entirely different language and culture, while Cervelli has to start filling in his blank Bucco pitcher's book and building relationships with the staff. Success on the field will have a lot to do with their progress off the field.

Francisco Cervelli has some big spikes to fill this year. (Photo: David Arrigo/Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • The Bucs got 22 year old lefty Steven Brault to go with another southpaw, 22 year old Stephen Tarpley, to complete the Travis Snider trade. Neither have top-end upside, but they do have MLB potential, and the Pirates are dealing from a position of strength to build for the future. It could hurt short term, depending on whether or not Travis has figured it out, but there are guys in the system that have reached the point where they need to play. 
  • The FO went 1-2 in arbitration. Neil Walker lost and will be taking home $8M this year, with one more arb year to go. Vance Worley ($2.45M) and Pedro ($5.75M) won, so all the deals are sealed. The 40-man payroll is just about at $90M to start 2015. Last year, it was thought to be around $78M at season's end.
  • Five Baby Bucs are included on Baseball America's Top 100 list: RHP Tyler Glasnow (16), RHP Jameson Taillon (29), OF Austin Meadows (41), 1B/OF Josh Bell (64) and C Reese McGuire (97). RHP Nick Kingham finished just outside the Top 100 and IF Alen Hanson received consideration.
  • The MLB Network will air three Pirate Grapefruit League games to Pittsburgh: March 3rd (Toronto Blue Jays -1 PM), March 22nd (Houston Astros - 1 PM), and April 1st (Baltimore Orioles - 7 PM).
  • The Bucs announced a couple of Fan Jam dates for the season: Big and Rich will play after the June 13th game with O.A.R. performing August 8th after the Dodgers contest.
  • ICYMI, MLB and the Players Association agreed on a set of "pace of play" rules to speed up the game.
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