- Big Joe Musgrove considers himself on schedule for the season opener after throwing off the mound for the first time since abdominal surgery. Gregory is not so far advanced; he's hitting off a tee and is on the verge of throwing after having shoulder work done (he also bruised his knee badly, which was treated with rest and appears to be fine), but is still confident he can beat his mid-June return timeline. Chris Archer is just kicking off his throwing program after hernia surgery by throwing off a flat surface, but said that's normal as he usually doesn't start tossing in the off season until January 1st. Edgar Santana, three months removed from TJ surgery and out for the year, is in Pirates City, so he looks rarin' to get after his rehab assignment. And Uncle Ray is in action, so his neck must be feeling good after his procedure, too.
- New hitting coach Rick Eckstein got his first chance to see the Buccos swinging during camp; Banny was there, too.
|Corey stays put (photo via Pirates)|
- The Buccos had two arb contracts to sort out, and got them both done by the deadline - LF Corey Dickerson inked an $8.5M deal and RHP Keone Kela signed for $3.175M. Michael Feliz had agreed to an $850K contract earlier in the year. All three salaries fell right into line with the pre-season value estimates calculated by MLB Trade Rumor's Matt Swartz.
- Michael Duarte of NBC-LA tweets that the Dodgers are dangling uber prospect OF Alex Verdugo and the Pirates are one of the teams taking a look. The 22-year-old Verdugo is the Dodger's top young gun, with a good bat, though not with a lot of power, cannon arm, and some debate about whether or not he's a MLB-caliber CF'er.
- You can also scrub LA from the Amore trade list - they just swapped two minor leaguers for old Bucco backstop Russ Martin.
- The Pirates added to their depth in upper level pitching by claiming RHP Aaron Slegers, 26, off waivers from the Twins and DFA'ing 24-year-old Dario Agrazal.
- Per MLB.com, the best heater in the Pirate organization belongs to 6'6" Altoona reliever Geoff Hartlieb. The 25-year-old's line was 8-2-10/3.24 with 56 K in 58 IP, and he'll be in the big league camp as an NRI. He's got a sinker to go with the four-seamer and he sits in the mid-to-upper 90's, touching 100.
|Geoff has the hummer goin' 2018 Go Sports|
- Caesar's Palace has the first 2019 MLB line out - they pick the Pirates over/under at 78.5 wins.
- RHP Drew Hutchison signed a minor league deal with the Yankees; he was the return for Frankie Liriano & company. He went through three teams last year after leaving the Bucs following the 2017 campaign, which he spent at Indy.
- The Milwaukee Brewers inked C Yasmani Grandal to 1-year/$18.25M deal. He had reportedly earlier turned down a multi-year offer from the Mets and a $19.9M qualifier from LA, which will now receive a comp pick at the end of Competitive Balance Round B while the Brewers will forfeit their third-highest draft pick.
- Josh Wilson joined the Tigers as a scout. The Mt. Lebo Blue Devil and 1999 PA High School Player of the Year played for 11 teams in an 11-year MLB career, though not the hometown Pirates. They stashed him in Indy as depth in 2008 before sending him to the Red Sox.
- BTW, for those who wonder where Cutch rates with Bucco greats with comparable time, here's where he stands with the big boys who played in the 10 year/1,300 game range for the Bucs:
So if you think Scoops and The Cobra were shortchanged by the HoF voters, we'll see what happens with Andrew, who so far in his career is a notch ahead of them. He still looks very much like a Hall of the Very Good candidate, along with Parker, Oliver and Mad Dog Madlock, unless he finds a second wind in his 30's.