BRADENTON, Fla. (93-7 THE FAN) – On the eve of the Pirates’ Grapefruit League Opener(s), the team held its first workout at LECOM Field.
- Early work started legitimately early, as players were in the batting cages at 6:40 a.m., including Austin Meadows and Kevin Newman.
- Starting lineups for tomorrow’s dual openers were posted. The traveling squad will board a bus to Port Charlotte at 9:15 a.m. to take on the Tampa Bay Rays:
1. Josh Harrison/Erich Weiss 2B
2. Jordy Mercer/Gift Ngoepe SS
3. John Jaso 1B
4. Eric Wood DH
5. Joey Terdoslavich RF
6. Jose Osuna LF
7. Phil Gosselin/Max Moroff 3B
8. Austin Meadows/Danny Ortiz CF
9. Jacob Stallings/Jackson Williams C
RHP Josh Lindblom will start on the mound, followed by Tyler Eppler, lefty Dan Runzler, Edgar Santana, lefty Jared Lakind, Dovydas Neverauskas, lefty Cody Dickson, and a pair of as-yet-to-be-named minor leaguers, with each pitching one inning.
At LECOM Park, the Pirates will host the Orioles with the following lineup:
- Adam Frazier/Kevin Newman SS
- Starling Marte CF
- Andrew McCutchen RF
- Gregory Polanco LF
- David Freese 3B
- Jason Rogers 1B
- Alen Hanson/Chris Bostick 2B
- Elias Diaz/Jin-De Jhang C
- Barrett Barnes DH
LHP Steven Brault will start and be followed on the hill by Trevor Williams, Tony Watson, Daniel Hudson, Felipe Rivero, Juan Nicasio, Antonio Bastardo, A.J. Schugel, and Pat Light, with each pitching one inning as well.
- Manager Clint Hurdle wouldn’t commit to the 2-3-4-5 spots in his lineup for tomorrow’s spring home opener being anything more than wanting to get work in for his core group. “You guys are really overcooking this. Seriously, it’s the first Spring Training game. It’s just the way they lined up, trying to optimize at bats for the premium players on the team. I haven’t said that that’s my Opening Day lineup. We’ll see.”
- Jameson Taillon is looking forward to starting Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. game in Sarasota against the Orioles and pitching the first two innings. “It’s the next step in the process,” said Taillon. It’s still early in Spring Training, so the Bucs’ presumed No. 2 starter will work on refining the 2-seam fastball he’s still trying to utilize with confidence against left-handed batters. “You need to find a balance of being able to work on what you need to work on, and taking care of yourself and getting ready for the season, while also trying to get outs and pitching in a competitive nature.”
- Gregory Polanco’s swing looked back in sync after spending the morning in the batting cage. He was able to push balls the other way in addition to doing his usual mashing of several balls on to the “Daiquiri Deck” in right field.
- Josh Bell mercilessly pounded balls all over LECOM Park, leading several people to wonder if perhaps he was going to damage the brand new scoreboard that was recently installed.
- Pop-ups, balls to the wall in the gap and down the lines, relays and cut-offs, and several other situations that call for communication were practiced first thing this morning after baserunning and conditioning work. Polanco, Marte, and McCutchen worked in their new spots in the outfield, with Eury Perez rotating in with McCutchen in right. Around the infield it was Jaso & Bell at first, Harrison & Hanson at second, Mercer & Gosselin at short, and Freese & Frazier at third. Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart, Diaz, & Stallings all rotated at catcher.
- The LECOM Park concessions and gameday staff went through a dry run before their first game tomorrow, which led to some complimentary hot dogs being available. They were delicious.