BRADENTON (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Larry and John are continuing their visit to Bradenton to bring back the Bucs home to Pittsburgh.
The forecast may be cold for Opening Day on Sunday but second baseman Josh Harrison says, “That adrenaline will probably warm us up.”READ MORE: Firefighters Battle Blaze At Armstrong Co. Assisted Living Facility
KDKA’s John Shumway Reports:
After Neil Walker’s departure to the New York Mets, Josh Harrison will be talking over at second this year for the Pirates. He says change is something that is constant in baseball and that it doesn’t really affect the clubhouse too much.
“We all understand in baseball each year, there’s going to be guys that come in, there’s going to be guys that go out and regardless of who’s coming in, who’s going out, our core group [does] a good job of continuing to believe in each other and guys that come in, they probably feel like they’ve been here their whole career because it’s a very open clubhouse where guys welcome you,” said Harrison.
Mark Melancon was the National League’s best closer last year and he hopes to continue his success this year. He has been trying to avoid looking at the forecast for Opening Day this Sunday, but says the cold weather will help him.
“I can use 85 for a little longer…[but] I think it’s to our advantage, as a pitcher so that’s okay with me. I can suffer through a little cold if it gives me more of an advantage,” said Melancon.
Melancon also welcomed his third child in the off-season.
“They’re at that age where they want to give daddy a hug right when I get in the door and when they wake up they want to see me. It’s a blast,” he said.
Jonathan Niese is the newest starting pitcher for the Pirates. He was the player the Pirates got in the deal with the New York Mets when they traded Walker.READ MORE: Edinboro Student Hospitalized After Being Stabbed In The Head
He says having the same number as Walker is purely conscience.
“I’ve [was] No. 18 growing up throughout high school,” he said.
Niese also talked about what the fans will see from him.
“I like to work [quickly]. I’m a huge competitor. I try to stay calm and collected, but I’m a fierce competitor out there,” he said.
Larry and John also caught with Joe Block, the newest play-by-play announcer for the Pirates. He is taking over for Tim Neverett, who left to join the Boston Red Sox’s broadcast team.
Block is a Detroit native, but his wife is a South Hills native. Block says he is excited to call Pittsburgh his second home. He grew up listening to the Penguins on KDKA Radio and said, “It is really, really cool to be on your air.”
Block said he was such a fan, “My best friend and I, we chose to come to Pittsburgh for spring break…we were big Penguins fans so we convinced our parents [to let us come to Pittsburgh].”
Listen to the KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway weekdays from 5 to 9 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.MORE NEWS: Pittsburgh Weather: Chances Of Saturday Showers