Today’s schedule is to hit Pirate City again, then the Astros/Pirates game at 1pm. After that its time to head home so tonight’s posts may be late.
If you missed it, check out Part 1: Pirate City.
As I walked into McKechnie I got word that Pedro Alvarez was in the batting cage.
This is five shots of five different swings I’ve put together in a gif. Pedro looked to be swinging well and the ball had a good sound coming off of his bat. The coach pitching to him was having him work on staying back. This was bout two hours before news broke that Alvarez has discomfort in his knee and will be held out for a few games. As you can see he’s not wearing a brace and I saw no sign of a limp. But as someone who has some knee issues of my own, I can say that certain movements trigger the pain more than others. It may be an issue where he can’t run or field as well as he needs to but swinging does no harm.
Good: Charlie Morton was lights out. 4 IP, 2 H, 2 K. Mostly groundballs. I’ll have more on him below. Matt Hague continued to look strong in his bid to make the big league club both at bat (2 run HR) and in the field (nice pick of a throw in the dirt.) Jose Tabata went 3-4.
Up and Down: Casey McGehee booted one easy grounder but made a nice play later on one which was hit harder. No hits fell in for him but he hit the ball square each time. Rod Barajas went 0-3 but had a good throw to catch Georgia Tech alum Tony Plagman stealing.
Just Bad: Daniel McCutchen was more unlucky than anything else. Most of the hits he gave up were soft ground balls that just eluded the defense. However, the grand slam was a no-doubter to centerfield.
After the game I was able to briefly speak with Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington. I asked him about Morton not being named to the rotation for the opening week in contrast with his stellar outing today, and if it was just a matter of getting him stretched out. I didn’t have a recorder so I’ll paraphrase in an attempt not to misquote Mr. Huntington.
- The team is in a fortunate position in that the schedule allows them to “find out where he is” and take the time to make sure Charlie is healthy and ready to go without rushing him.
- In a similar situation last year with James McDonald, James came back too quickly to start the year and ended up not performing well in April.
- Asked if Charlie could be used the first time the 5th starter is needed on April 14, Huntington responded that it was “an option.”
Barring any new developments, my gut says to look for Charlie on the 14th. Many thanks to Mr. Huntington for his time and words.
Tomorrow: Last day. Probably go to Pirate City and see if A.J. Burnett will be throwing his simulated game there.
Filed under: baseball, Pirates, Spring Training | Tagged: Andy Van Slyke, baseball, Casey McGehee, Charlie Morton, Chris Leroux, Daniel McCutchen, Jim Leyland, Jose Tabata, Matt Hague, Neal Huntington, Pedro Alvarez, Pirates, Rafael Belliard, Rod Barajas, Spring Training, Tony Plagman, WHYGAVS | 3 Comments »
Day Two started at Pirate City. Minor league players were everywhere to be seen on the five and a half fields. Happily, I was able to meet Tim Williams, who runs the excellent Pirates Prospects. Tim informed me that Gerrit Cole would not be pitching, but luckily there was still (as always) plenty to see. A quick photo essay:
Mixon’s came highly recommended and now I know why. This will definitely become a regular part of our trips to Spring Training.
Coming up: Part II: McKechnie Field and the Tigers.
Filed under: baseball, Pirates, Spring Training | Tagged: baseball, Brian Friday, Frank Coonelly, Gorkys Hernandez, Kris Watts, Kyle McPherson, Mel Rojas Jr., Mixon's Fruit Farm, Pirate City, Pirates, Pirates Prospects, Spring Training, Starling Marte, Stetson Allie, Tim Williams, Tony Sanchez | 2 Comments »
Today’s plan: Head to Pirate City, hopefully to see Gerrit Cole pitch; Lunch at Mixon’s Fruit Farm and Tigers/Pirates in the afternoon. Follow along on twitter during the day or check back here tonight for a full recap.
In case you missed it, here’s yesterday’s recap.
Good morning from the road! I’m at the airport, headed down to Bradenton to catch a few Pirates games. If you’ll be at the ballpark Thursday, Friday or Saturday, send me a message and we can meet up.
I’ve been going to spring training for most of the last 15 years and I’ve learned a few things along the way. Hopefully they can be helpful to you if you decide to take the trip for yourself.
2. At the Game: McKechnie Field opens an hour before the game. Pirates BP will be over by that point but the other team will be hitting. The Pirates have a batting cage and bullpen down the RF line where you can see guys get some extra swings and that day’s starter warm up. If you are an autograph hound, this is where you want to make camp. (Its also a good area for foul balls, so keep your head up.)