Maz arrived just in time for matchups such as Cole vs. Cutch in live BP

BRADENTON, Fla. (93-7 THE FAN) – Day 5 of Pirates Spring Training was highlighted by fully live batting practice, including matchups such as Gerrit Cole vs. Andrew McCutchen, and Ivan Nova vs. Gregory Polanco.

  • Ivan Nova finally got around to dying his hair. The guess on the particular shade of orange is up to interpretation, but let’s go with “burnt orange.”
  • Workouts started with the excitement – sarcasm intended – of pick-off drills. Josh Bell, John Jaso, and Jose Osuna played first under the tutelage of Kevin Young on Field #1 while Jason Rogers, Joey Terdoslovich, and Eric Wood fielded throws on Field #4. These were the only drills conducted without music today.
  • Position specific fielding was up next, as Field #1 had shortstops Jordy Mercer, Kevin Newman, and Max Moroff taking a variety of grounders as outfielders McCutchen, Polanco, Sterling Marte, Austin Meadows, Eury Perez, Danny Ortiz, & Barrett Barnes worked on rollers with Kimera Bartee. Field #2 was the right side of the infield, with Bell, Jaso, Rogers, & Terdoslovich at first and Adam Frazier, Phil Gosselin, & Gift Ngoepe at second. Field #4 had Josh Harrison, Erich Weiss, & Chris Bostick at second base while David Freese, Alen Hanson, Jose Osuna, and Eric Wood manned third base.
  • Sidenote: During outfielding drills, one veteran member of the media relayed a story of how Bill Virdon – who was sitting nearby watching today – once hit hard grounders in to the gaps to get outfielders to race over and cut them off as Brian Giles complained. I’d still take Virdon to drop Giles if given one swing.
  • Virdon sat with Pirates Hall of Famer and fellow 1960 World Series Champion Bill Mazeroski to observe on Field #1.
  • With Ray Searage watching closely, Cole started the action on Field #1, pitching a single simulated inning against McCutchen, Marte, and Freese with Francisco Cervelli catching. Cole was the only pitcher today to pitch a single simulated inning, as all others who pitched today threw two innings of work. Hurdle said it was planned that way, as a part of Cole’s throwing program.
  • Juan Nicasio, Jared Hughes, & A.J. Schugel later pitched on Field #1 as well, to a variety of hitters including McCutchen, Marte, Freese, Polanco, Mercer, Hanson, Harrison, Jaso, Frazier, Gosselin, and Perez.
  • Field #2 started with Nova giving up a dead-center bomb to Polanco on his first pitch with Elias Diaz catching, and continued with Felipe Rivero, Steven Brault, & Drew Hutchison throwing to Polanco, Harrison, Jaso, Frazier, Gosselin, Perez, McCutchen, Marte, Freese, Jaso, Mercer, & Hanson.
  • On the all-turf Field #3, Jameson Taillon, Tyler Glasnow, Antonio Bastardo, & Wade LeBlanc faced Rogers, Meadows, Terdoslovich, Newman, Moroff, Ngoepe, Bostick, Wood, Osuna, Barnes, Weiss, Ortiz & Jacob Stallings as Jin-De Jhang did the catching. Rogers made some particularly hard contact, driving several balls toward the deep parts of centerfield.
  • Finally, on Field #4, Tony Watson, Chad Kuhl, Daniel Hudson, and Ty Webb pitched to the same group of batters as Chris Stewart did the catching.
  • Occasionally, pitchers would warm-up or stay warm pitching to Stallings or Jackson Williams in the bullpen.
  • The final hitters of the day were the four catchers who caught the live batting practice; Cervelli, Stewart, Diaz, and Jhang. Cervelli, like Gosselin yesterday, put one on the roof of the clubhouse, probably a good 400 – 410 feet away from the plate in the left-center gap. Diaz again showed some pop when turning on balls to left.
  • Don’t get any hopes up about Diaz spending significant time in Pittsburgh though, as Hurdle pointed out the club still wants Diaz to play more than sit. “We want him to carry a workload that’s significant. He is a guy that other organizations continue to ask us about, so he’s not just a good player in our eyes, other people watch. To have a catcher than can receive, can call a game, can throw, can hit a little bit with some barrel, yeah they’re hard to find. And we’re glad we’ve got him.”
  • The surprise of the weekend so far was Bastardo putting on a bunting display Friday that shocked even Hurdle. “He just kept smiling while he just kept doing, and we kept adding velocity, and he just kept doing it… and I’m like ‘How did I…?’ I don’t know, maybe the Mets did some really good work with him.”
  • Showers intensified about 45 minutes after the first rumbles of thunder coincided with AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” coming on the playlist but not before the workout had just about ended anyway.
  • There was a rally scheduled for Saturday night from 5 – 7 p.m. at the newly renamed LECOM Park in Downtown Bradenton.
  • Workouts on Sunday will be similarly timed, from about 10 a.m. until roughly 1 p.m., but not before team photo day, which starts early, at 7 a.m. in the cafeteria at the Pirate City complex.