BRADENTON, Fla. (KDKA) – Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones, who has been out with a strained left oblique, is closer to returning to the line-up after a round of batting practice this morning.

In fact, Jones will be in the lineup Friday.

“Yeah, [bating practice] felt great today,” Jones said. “Driving the ball well, swing felt great and didn’t feel anything in there.”

And it was, as manager Clint Hurdle had put it, “good old-fashioned [batting practice].”

“It was on the field, got a couple of out of there,” Jones smiled. “I’m ready to go and transfer it to a game.”

Jones will be in the lineup Friday at first base.

“[I] took some ground balls today, threw to second, all the things in a normal day,” Jones said.

The only down side is Friday’s game is in Kissimmee, which is the longest road trip the Pirates will make this spring.

However, Jones won’t beg out.

“That would be the easy way,” the veteran said. “I’ll make the trip and I’m anxious to get back out there.”

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