Pittsburgh Pirates Spring Training News And Notes: March 25
The latest news from Pittsburgh Pirates’ Spring Training down in Bradenton
The start of the regular season is almost here. In just nine days the Pittsburgh Pirates will travel to Fenway Park in Boston to start a three-game series with the Red Sox. This will make the next nine days very busy for the Pirates.
Currently, the Pittsburgh Pirates still have 39 players in Major League camp. This gives Clint Hurdle and his staff just nine days to cut 14 players from the roster. And there are still a few roster battles going on.
Additionally, the Pirates may have an early bout with the injury bug this season. Backup catcher Chris Stewart left Friday’s game after tweaking his hamstring in the seventh inning against the Tampa Bay Rays.
According to pirates.com, Stewart is ‘optimistic’ that he will be ready for Opening Day. If he is not, he will start the year on the disabled list with Elias Diaz serving as Francisco Cervelli‘s backup catcher.
There is also left fielder Gregory Polanco. Polanco was originally scheduled to be in the Pirate lineup this afternoon. However, he has been scratched due to ‘left shoulder discomfort.’ Odds are, scratching him from the lineup was precautionary.
Neal Huntington is also trying to make a trade or two before the start of the regular season. According to Rob Biertempfel, the Pirates have told teams that reliever Jared Hughes and utility man Alen Hanson are available on the trade market.
Personally, I would like to see the Pirates trade Hughes. As has been discussed on this site, Jared Hughes has been a pitcher in decline for nearly two full calendar years. He should not be in the Pirate bullpen.
As for Hanson, a trade also makes sense. He is out of options and can not be sent to the Minor Leagues. Because of this Alen Hanson has to either make the team out of Spring Training or be designated for assignment.
Due to Jung Ho Kang‘s visa issues, Hanson now has a spot on the Opening Day roster. But the Pittsburgh Pirates could be trying to trade Hanson in order to create a roster spot for Jose Osuna who has had a great spring. The Pirates also do not have a true fourth outfielder and Osuna could fill this role.
Yesterday, Gerrit Cole pitched in a game at Minor League camp. Cole pitched seven innings and went over 100 pitches for the first time this spring. The Pirate ace’s fastball sat in the mid-90s, and hit 97 MPH more than once. Cole seems primed to have a huge 2017 season.
Next: How To Construct The Pirate Lineup
Opening Day is just nine days away. The next nine days could be very busy for the Pittsburgh Pirates. The team still needs to finalize their roster, may have to use the disabled list early, and could make a trade or two as well.