Pittsburgh Pirates Prepare For Spring Training Opener
By Marty Leap
The Pittsburgh Pirates open up their 2017 Spring Training schedule today
Baseball season is here, yay! At 1:05 PM this afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates will play their first Spring Training game of 2017. In fact, the Pirates will play two games today.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will partake in some split squad action today. One team will host the Baltimore Orioles at LECOM Park in Bradenton, while the other squad heads to Port Charlotte to do battle with the Tampa Bay Rays.
When the Pirates welcome the Orioles to LECOM Park, Steven Brault will start for the Bucs. Brault, who posted a 5.087 FIP in 33 1/3 innings pitched last season, is in competition to start the season as the Pirates’ fifth starting pitcher. The lineup for this game is as follows:
- Adam Frazier – SS
- Starling Marte – CF
- Andrew McCutchen – RF
- Gregory Polanco – LF
- David Freese – 3B
- Jason Rogers – 1B
- Alen Hanson – 2B
- Elias Diaz – C
- Barrett Barnes – DH
This will be the first time the Pirates’ new outfield configuration will be in action. Also, I am anxious to see how Adam Frazier does at shortstop this spring. If he can serve as the team’s backup shortstop, the entire makeup of the bench could change.
Trevor Williams, Tony Watson, Felipe Rivero, Daniel Hudson, Antonio Bastardo, Juan Nicasio, A.J. Schugel, and Pat Light are all scheduled to pitch behind Brault. Five of these relievers (Watson, Rivero, Hudson, Bastardo, and Nicasio) will be looked upon to play a big role in 2017 Pirate bullpen.
As for the squad heading to Port Charlotte, non-roster invitee Josh Lindblom is scheduled to start for the Bucs. Dovydas Neverauskas, Dan Runzler, Jared Lakind, Cody Dickson, Edgar Santana, and Tyler Eppler are all scheduled to pitch as well. The lineup will be as follows:
- Josh Harrison – 2B
- Jordy Mercer – SS
- John Jaso – 1B
- Eric Wood – DH
- Joey Terdoslavich -RF
- Jose Osuna – LF
- Phil Gosselin – 3B
- Austin Meadows – CF
- Jacob Stallings – C
Next: Who Should Be The 5th Starter?
Other than Harrison, Mercer, Jaso, and Gosselin, no one in this game is in competition to head north with the team at the end of spring Training. However, Dovydas Neverauskas should provide good bullpen depth at Triple-A. Also, it will be fun to see how top prospect Austin Meadows performs.