PITTSBURGH (KDKA 93-7 The Fan)- The Pirates open Grapefruit League play on Feb. 26.
Last season, the Pirates went through 12 starting pitchers. General Manager Neal Huntington told Dan Zangrilli that while they hopefully won’t use that many again, it’s nice to have depth.
“I certainly hope we don’t go through 12 again this year, but we’re going to need a lot more than five,” Huntington said. “We’ll have a great competition. We’ll have some options if they’re all pitching and pitching well, it means we’re in a really good spot.”
Pitcher Jeff Locke struggled in the second half of the season after making the All-Star roster. Huntington said that Locke has his confidence back this spring.
“We’re looking forward to Jeff, the crispness of the fastball, the aggressiveness of pitching in, the change-up off the fastball, the curveball for strikes and for chase, and that air, that confidence that Jeff had in the first half, and he’s in a good spot to get that back,” Huntington said.
The Pirates signed pitcher Edinson Volquez this offseason after he split last year with the Padres and Dodgers. The Pirates made a few suggestions during the voluntary camp in January, and Huntington said that Volquez has already made strides.
“I know our guys are very pleased with how adaptable he’s been and the adjustments that he’s made to this point already,” Huntington said. “Edinson does some things that we like subjectively, our scouts love the stuff package, they love the fastball, the velocity and when it’s down it’s a weapon for him.”
Huntington said that Volquez left the fastball up too much in recent seasons. Huntington added that if he can make two delivery alterations, he will be able to get the ball down in the zone on a more consistent basis, and that would be a recipe for success.
Huntington also told Zangrilli that he likes where the payroll is at right now, and appreciates having a little bit of flexibility to be able to make a move if necessary.
“It’s a good spot to be in. We feel good about our offseason. We feel good about how everything came together. We like this club as we sit here today, but to have a little bit of financial flexibility is a good place to be,” Huntington said.