Wednesday was day three of Spring Training 2017 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, here are a few quick notes from day three of camp.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are now three days into Spring Training. Pitchers and catchers reported to Bradenton on Monday. However, most of the players invited to Spring Training, regardless of position, are there.
Furthermore, many players were already there before Monday. Due to these reasons, despite the first full squad workout not being until Friday Pirate Spring Training is, essentially, in full swing.
News is beginning to surface. So here is a recap of some tidbits from the Pittsburgh Pirates’ first three days of Spring Training.
Watson Has His Arbitration Hearing
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Pirate reliever Tony Watson was not at camp on Wednesday. This is because he was at his arbitration hearing instead. Watson was the lone arbitration eligible Pirate that required an arbitration hearing this offseason.
Tony Watson is coming off his worst full Major League season. In 2016 he allowed a career high 1.33 HR/9. Furthermore, his 4.37 FIP, 4.20 xFIP, and -0.1 WAR were all the second worst numbers of his career.
When exchanging arbitration figures earlier this offseason the Pirates offered Watson 5.6 million dollars. Watson and his agent filed for 6 million dollars. Despite him coming off the worst season of his career, I would expect Tony Watson to win his arbitration hearing. This is due to his track record prior to the 2016 season.
Could McCutchen Return To Center Field?
As you all know by now, the Pirates are changing their outfield defense this season. The Bucs will now employ Gregory Polanco in left field, Starling Marte in center field, and Andrew McCutchen in right field. However, Clint Hurdle said today that McCutchen could, potentially, still see some playing time in center field.
“Those opportunities could still be presented to him,” Hurdle said. “Marte could need a day and he (McCutchen) could slide over,” the Pirate skipper added. Personally, I will believe it when I see it. When Marte is out of the lineup, I would expect to see Polanco in center field and Adam Frazier in left field.
Clint Hurdle has also confirmed that Andrew McCutchen will bat third in 2017. This comes after he rotated between the two spot and the three spot in 2016.
Bell’s Recovery From Surgery
First baseman Josh Bell is experiencing no issues recovering from his minor knee surgery last week. According to the Pirates’ website, Bell is already taking dry swings in the cage. He is also taking part in cardio workouts.
Head Pirate trainer Todd Tomczyk said Bell is responding well to treatment. Also, Tomczyk added, “He’s closer to swinging full than you think.”
Obviously, the sooner Josh Bell can take a full swing the better. The young slugger is expected to be a big part of the Pirates’ 2017 lineup. And despite his knee surgery, it looks like he will be 100 percent ready to go by Opening Day.
Day four of Pittsburgh Pirates’ Spring Training 2017 will be on Thursday. The first full squad workout will come one day later on Friday. Baseball is here folks, enjoy it.