Pirates Spring Training 2017: Feb. 20 News & Notes

McCutchen, Marte, & Freese drop longballs in BP with Owner Nutting observing

BRADENTON, Fla. (93-7 THE FAN) – It’s been a week at Pirate City for many of the pitchers, and even longer for many of the minor leaguers who came down early to get work in.

Without any live batting practice today, the mundane drudgery of such fun as wheel plays and yet another round of PFPs (pitcher’s fielding practice) and CRG (controlled running game) drilled down on the details.

Oh yeah, and the owner came around. For Bob Nutting’s thoughts on the future of Andrew McCutchen, Neal Huntington, and more, be sure to check out my one-on-one conversation with him.

  • As for the actual baseball action, initial plans on the bulletin board planned for David Freese, Alen Hanson, & Josh Harrison to take work at third base while Adam Frazier, Phil Gosselin, & Max Moroff were to work at second base. Additionally, Jordy Mercer, Kevin Newman, & Gift Ngoepe were targeted for shortstop, and the trio of John Jaso, Jason Rogers, and Joey Terdoslavich at first base. Once Individual Defensive Practice got underway though, two notable differences took place: Josh Bell worked in at first base after initially just taking work on the half-field, and Josh Harrison was at second. Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune-Review reports that J-Hay did take grounders at third, but I must have missed it.
  • With Bench Coach Dave Jauss throwing batting practice, Andrew McCutchen & David Freese peppered the batter’s eye in center field with several mammoth shots. Starling Marte got in on the fun as well, turning on one that clanged off the batting cages beyond the left field fence.
  • Francisco Cervelli, after missing two days with what turned out to be some fairly minor right foot discomfort, is expected back on Tuesday.
  • John Jaso is a lock for this team. Clint Hurdle said as much this afternoon. The question is, can he be trusted to not just get on base, but to make more solid contact than he did last season, and when he does, it will it be simply as a pinch hitter, or is his insistence on acquiring some position flexibility pushing him toward a utility corner role. He’s insisting on continuing to take some work at third base, and has shagged balls in both left field and right field during B.P. Will that be enough to make him anything more than a bench bat once Jung-ho Kang is back and David Freese is the primary spell for Josh Bell at first base? That remains to be seen. For what it’s worth, he’s absolutely hit the snot out of the ball this week. And for those that believe in the whole Samson-esque superstition, he has no plans for cutting his hair – yet. He’s planning to continue with a dreadlock ponytail. “I have to tame it back and put it into a cage while I’m running around, so it hopefully won’t flick me in the eye every time I swing a bat or throw a ball.”
  • Veteran Reliever Josh Lindblom can speak Korean after spending two seasons with Lotte in the KBO. For more on Lindblom’s unbelievable journey to South Korea and back, and the heart-wrenching reason he made the decision to return state-side despite having a contract offer waiting in Korea, read Adam Berry’s piece at MLB.com.
  • Chris Stewart, surprisingly, cannot dunk a basketball. Neither can Austin Meadows. Nor Gift Ngoepe. Infielder Chris Bostick however, acquired in a minor league deal with the Nationals last September, can most certainly drop some Vince Carter-in his prime-level windmills.
  • Freese is a Steve Winwood fan. Then again, who isn’t?
  • Tomorrow’s schedule includes more live BP, highlighted by Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Ivan Nova, & Tyler Glasnow throwing 2 simulated innings each against McCutchen, Marte, Freese, Mercer, Jaso, Hanson, Harrison, Gosselin, Frazier, (possibly) Bell, Eury Perez, & Gregory Polanco. Tony Watson, Daniel Hudson, Antonio Bastardo, & Felipe Rivero will throw 1 inning each against the same group. Drew Hutchison, Chad Kuhl, Steven Brault, Wade LeBlanc, Jared Hughes, & Juan Nicasio will throw 2 innings and A.J. Schugel 1 inning against a group of minor leaguers headlined by Austin Meadows & Kevin Newman.
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