BRADENTON, Fla. (93-7 THE FAN) — Pirates’ No. 1 draft pick Cole Tucker didn’t get to bat and only had one ball hit to him in the three innings he played, but that couldn’t stop the smile on his face as he appeared in his first Major League Spring Training game in Lakeland, Florida.
“I mean it was exciting, getting to wake up at Pirates City and everyone going ‘Hey, you’re going to the big league game today,’ and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I need to put on a collared shirt or brush my teeth or something,’” Cole said.
The 18-year-old shortstop from Arizona said this is what he’s been working his tail off over in Pirates City for, and he wants to call this is office someday. Tucker also took some time to cherish the experience.
“Like 37 moments to soak it in,” Tucker said. “Obviously, I was focusing on the game, but I was just like looking and thinking. I was like oh my God, I started playing baseball in my grandparents’ living room and now I’m in a major league game. It was unbelievable, this being my first time was pretty nuts, but definitely everything I imagined.”
Tucker played in 48 games with the Gulf League Pirates last year after being drafted, hitting .267 with 13 stolen bases and 13 errors.
“You work out, days get long, season gets long in the minor leagues, but you know there’s this is waiting for you at the end if you work hard and you do well and do all the right things and are a good person, good things will happen to you. Now that I’ve been in this locker room with these guys and this organization and I know what it’s like. It definitely gives you something to look forward to and work harder for.”
Pirates Win 7-3
Catcher Francisco Cervelli homered off the top of the right centerfield wall (approx.. 430 feet) and drove in 3 runs as the Pirates tagged David Price for 7 runs in a 7-3 win. Andrew McCutchen had 2 hits and scored 2 runs. Jung-Ho Kang had an RBI double off the left field wall and raised his average to .179. Antonio Bastardo pitched a perfect inning of relief.
Hurdle on Roster Moves
Earlier on Tuesday, the Pirates sent 3 righty, relievers to the minors. John Holdzkom and Rob Scahill were optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis and Blake Wood to minor league camp.
“John had put himself in competition to break with the club with the depth that we have,” Hurdle said. “John, Scahill, Blake Wood all showed up very, very well. We have really solid depth behind the guys we project to take.”
“It was a very competitive camp in the bullpen, a lot of guys stepped up and pitched well, commanded the ball, threw strikes. There’s velocity, there’s power, there’s spin out there. It takes more than the 7 you break with. We will see how the season develops, but those guys all came in and made good impressions.”
Hurdle also said the plan was for Vance Worley to get a game out of the bullpen before the season starts. Worley gave up one run on three hits in three innings against the Tigers on Tuesday.