Ron Cook at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette implores Pirates fans to have some trust. This is, as Cook reminds us, a team that won 280 games in the past three seasons. Fans need to trust the wizardry of pitching coach Ray Searage – someone that “must do his magic with Jon Niese and Ryan Vogelsong”. Plus, the Piraters have General Manager Neal Huntington – the other veritable star of the show. Only Huntington, can turn owner Bob Nutting’s small wad of cash into honey. In the end, Cook seems to be saying he doesn’t think the team is as good as it should be – but, the trio of Searage, Huntington and manager Clint Hurdle have earned his trust so he’ll wait and see. Read the full article on the Post-Gazette’s website.
Travis Sawchik over at the Tribune-Review has really gone out on a limb with his article “Pirates’ defense likely to improve without [Pedro] Alvarez”. Not a terribly thought provoking insight given Alvarez committed 23 errors at first base last season. It was tied for the most ever by a first baseman. Clearly, we’re in the midst of a few slow news days in a row for Pirates fans. Alvarez is old news. If you feel like piling it on the error prone Alvarez, do it at TribLive.com.
Adam Berry at MLB.com was scraping the barrel’s bottom too. He opted to give us an inside look at the world of Daniel Bard. Bard seems to be free of expectations finally. Once an automatic set-up guy in Boston, Bard has fallen far. Well, in fact he’s fallen completely off the map. Everyone thinks he stinks – so he can only go up from here. Even Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage seemed to acknowledge Bard was mission impossible, saying to Berry: “Having that type of surgery, the thoracic impingement that he had, it’s tough,” and continued “You’ve got to teach yourself how to throw a baseball — not pitch, but throw a baseball again.” The Pirates already have a huge need for Ray Searage’s wizardry, magic or whatever you want to call it with guys like Niese, Vogelsong, and Locke. Hopefully, the pitching guru won’t spend too much time teaching Bard to throw again. Read the full article here and leave Bard some words of encouragement.
PiratesProspects.com just published an interesting story behind their pay-wall about Jung-ho Kang. Kang’s been laid up after needing major knee surgery. According to Tim Williams, an optimistic assessment of Kang may have him ready in time for Opening Day. See the full story and analysis here. Williams has some dandy video of Kang down in Brandenton working in the cages and fielding.