Pittsburgh Pirates News: Updates Out of Summer Camp
By Marty Leap
With the new July 24 Opening Day now just 18 days away for the Pittsburgh Pirates, what news is there to discuss coming out of summer camp?
We are one day closer to the start of the 2020 Major League Baseball season. On July 24, the Pittsburgh Pirates will travel to Busch Stadium in St. Louis to kick off the shortened 60-game games season against their division rival Cardinals.
In preparation for the season, last week, the Pittsburgh Pirates started spring training 2.0. Or, as the team is calling it, summer camp. On Sunday, new manager Derek Shelton met with the media to discuss some news out of summer camp.
One of the topics Shelton discussed was the most pressing at hand, the COVID-19 pandemic. As we learned on Sunday, two Pittsburgh Pirates players tested positive for COVID-19. These two players were relief pitching prospect Blake Cederlind and minor league free agent signee outfielder Socrates Brito.
Shelton confirmed that both players gave the team permission to release the information about their positive tests. Additionally, Shelton said that, out of privacy for the players, the team would have no update on the two players other than that they tested positive.
The new Pirate skipper also said that starting Tuesday the team will change how they hold their workouts.
Moving the workouts to the evenings makes sense for more than one reason. Getting the players out of the heat, especially in a week where it is supposed to consistently be 90+ degrees in Pittsburgh, makes sense in terms of player fatigue. Additionally, it will help players start to better adapt to playing baseball during the evening and early night hours that they will be playing games during. As silly as that may sound, outside of a few Grapefruit League games, these players have not played in a baseball game since last fall. Anything teams can do to adjust to regular playing conditions could pay off.
Shelton also told the media that the team views lefty Derek Holland as a starting pitcher. Holland entered the spring competing for a spot on the Pittsburgh Pirates rosters, rather it be as a reliever or a starter. After walking just three batters, striking out 15 and allowing five home runs, he owned a 3.95 ERA 13.2 innings of work in Grapefruit League play. Holland already appeared to have won a spot in the team’s starting rotation, but following Chris Archer‘s season ending surgery and Shelton’s comments on Sunday, he appears to be a lock for the starting rotation.
Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings also spoke with the media. The Bucco backstop raved about Pirate pitcher Chad Kuhl. Returning form Tommy John Surgery, Kuhl’s role for 2020 remains unknown.
Kuhl could be in the starting rotation, he could be in the bullpen or he could do a bit of both. Stallings said that Kuhl’s stuff has been ‘filthy’ since the team started to work out together again. Kuhl has always had a plus curveball, throw in his high-90s fastball that can touch triple digits, and new pitching coach Oscar Marin has to love what he has to work with in Kuhl.