The Pittsburgh Pirates are wrapping up their 2019 spring training this week. Here are some recent news and notes from down in Bradenton.
The Pittsburgh Pirates will be taking on the Cincinnati Reds a week from today. The team will be on the road opening at Great American Ballpark. This means that the team is starting to wind down their spring training activities. At this point, the Pittsburgh Pirates have most of their roster settled with almost all their prospects being sent away from big league camp. However, there is still plenty of news and notes coming out of camp.
The first note comes about the Pittsburgh Pirates comes from MLB.com writer Adam Berry. Berry spoke to the Pittsburgh Pirates head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk about two key players on the team. Berry tweeted out a couple of updates on outfielder Gregory Polanco and their secondary catcher Elias Diaz:
"“Gregory Polanco (shoulder) is close to playing RF in Minor League games, possibly early next week.Elias Diaz (virus) has resumed full baseball activities. He’s feeling good, but just starting his spring build-up.”"
The fact that Polanco is already moving toward playing in live games is very encouraging. He has already seemed to be ahead of the June timeline when he showed up at camp, as it was talked about that he could be back by mid-May. If he plays this soon and does not have any setbacks, it seems like he could be back with the team by the end of May.
Obviously, the same goes for catcher Elias Diaz. Diaz was expected to play a big part in the Pittsburgh Pirates this year. With Francisco Cervelli‘s concussion and, in general, injury issues, the team would have had a good opportunity to get him plenty of playing time. The team likely would use the two catchers in more of a split starter situation rather than a true starter and backup.
The Pittsburgh Pirates also cut a couple of notable players from their camp. The one player the team cut was reliever Jake Barrett. Barrett is a hard-throwing reliever who the team picked up on waivers a few weeks ago. He only threw two innings and struck out two batters. Barrett will likely serve as one of the first relief pitchers called up when needed.
The other player that was cut was utility minor league player Alfredo Reyes. Reyes played in a lot of games this spring appearing in 16 total. The reason for this amount of action is that he can basically play any position in the infield and the outfield. He only hit .182 and is now heading back to the minor leagues.
The last note is about relief pitcher Michael Feliz. Feliz was demoted last season after having a rough year, throwing to almost a 6.00 ERA. This spring has not gone much better as his ERA is closer to 5.00, giving up four home runs in 11 innings. It will be interesting to see what happens to Feliz at the end of spring training.