By Bob Pompeani

PITTSBURGH (KDKA 93-7 The Fan) – The Pirates open the season Monday at home against the Chicago Cubs.

Pirates broadcaster Greg Brown previewed the season with KDKA’s Bob Pompeani Saturday, and believes that a starting pitcher who missed time in 2013 will be key.

“Wandy Rodriguez is the X factor for me. This winter when people talked about him coming back, I was pessimistic. I didn’t think that just an off-season of basically rest and a little bit of rehab would change anything, but apparently it has,” Brown said. “If he can stay healthy most of the year, that’s a huge lift for this ball club.”

Fans are clamoring for Gregory Polanco to make his Pirates debut, and Brown understands the hype.

“I’ve seen a handful of ball games that he’s been in,” Brown said. “The speed, I’ve seen the arm, at times the power, he’s a specimen. So that doesn’t surprise me that some are suggesting that even if he comes up after a couple of months into the season he could win Rookie of the Year.”

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