PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) — Pirates relief pitcher Jared Hughes joined Paul Alexander, Jim Colony and team play-by-play broadcaster Greg Brown on The Fan Morning Show Friday live from Bradenton, Fla. to chat about spring training, which began this week.

Hughes said he has been raring to go for quite some time now.

“About five days into the off-season, you start getting the itch to get back onto the field,” Hughes said. “You miss the game.”

He expects the bullpen to be in good hands with Jason Grilli taking over as closer following the departure of Joel Hanrahan.

“We’ll miss Hanny for sure,” he said. “He was a great guy and great teammate, and I wish him continued success. But I think that the energy that Jason Grilli brings to the bullpen is just awesome. He’s got the passion. He’s our leader, definitely and we’re all behind him.”

He firmly believes that the team is ready to turn things around after struggling during their last two stretch runs.

“We understand that the positive momentum has to keep up,” Hughes said. “I think that we learned from our past experiences. We’re prepared and we’re going to stay positive, and go out there, and we’re going to win. That’s it. This is the year, 2013. We believe, we hope the fans do, and we’re really ready for this.”

“There’s no expectation there,” he said. “There’s no ‘maybe…’- no, it’s going to happen.”

The interview can be heard here: