One Week Away From Opener-Pirate Storylines Remain Hot
By Tom Smith
The Pirates are fighting to gain headlines this spring. With so much sports action in Pittsburgh, it has been tough to focus on the Bucs. Pitt’s basketball teams losses get some more available space in the paper for the Pirates. There have been some exciting storylines coming out of Florida, that I look for some more details this week.
Jack Wilson would like to stay a Pirate. Wilson is in the last season of a three-year deal, with an $8.4M team option ($600K buyout) for 2010.
The Pirates have a decision to make. Brian Bixler had a great spring, but was cut this morning.
All the youth certainly made headlines, Andrew McCutcheon will be with the club very soon. He earned a roster spot, but to bring him North makes no sense. He was also sent down this morning. Don’t lose a year with him, let him play in Indy for two weeks and then bring him back up, he earned a spot for the home opener, it will just have to be next year. It will be very interesting to watch Nyjer Morgan, the pressure is on. I think he needed to show so much more in the spring.
Welcome back Kyle Bloom. The Detroit Tigers weren’t able to start the Rule 5 pickup on the roster and he is back with Pittsburgh. Bloom was the Curve’s opening day starter last season. He struggled early, but finished the season quite strong. He then made 7 starts for the West Oahu Cane Fires, and finshed the Hawaii season with the second best ERA in the league: 1.50. He had 30IP and gave up only 5 earned runs on 15 hits and 11 walks, with 32 strikeouts. Not a big story, but certainly nice to have him back with the club for the future.
Jose Tabata certainly turned heads with his performance this spring. He will play in Altoona. For how long is the real question to be answered. Could he jump AAA?
Pedro Alvarez. Wow. The biggest story of all. He was so impressive in his first big league camp. Unreal.
TODAY’S GRAPEFRUIT ACTION: Ross Ohlendorf will be relaxed as he has earned his spot in the rotation. He makes his fourth start and has been stellar in Pirates spring training games with a .59ERA. Pitching for the Reds will be the righthander Johnny Cueto.