By Rick Dayton

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – It’s freezing here in Pittsburgh, but the Pirates have their sights set on warmer weather.

Signs of the winter season are everywhere you look. The forecast is calling for more cold and more snow. Even Punxsutawney Phil said last week that we are not out of the woods just yet. But, there is some good news.

“Probably sometime roughly around 11. Get there on Friday and we’ll start unloading on Friday,” Pirates Equipment Manager Scott Bonnett said.

The Pittsburgh Pirates are packing up, heading south and they’ll be gone for eight weeks.

“A guitar is there. We used to have Neil Walker’s pillow, but he’s no longer here so we don’t have that going with us, but just a little knick-knack stuff that guys might pack up to make the two months a little bit more enjoyable,” Bonnett said.

Bonnett’s team has been hard at work since the end of last season getting ready for this season. Everything they need for Spring Training has been staged in the clubhouse and now, it’s moving day.

“Maybe around two hours and then we will get on the road. This is the easy part is loading it up. The hardest part is Friday when we unload it,” Bonnett said.

Why is the unload part more difficult?

“Because it has to go in specific spots. You are looking at where stuff is going from the training room, the weight room, equipment room, bats, balls, everything like that,” he said.

One of the other tough things is knowing that none of this year’s luggage belongs to familiar faces Gerrit Cole Andrew McCutchen.

“They are friends. They will always be friends. I will see Cutch in the offseason. I frequently talk to him. I mean I have done that with Joel Hanrahan, it’s been with Neil Walker,” Bonnett said.

Pitchers and catchers have to be in Bradenton by Monday.

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