BRADENTON, Fla. (93-7 THE FAN) – Day Six of Pirates Spring Training was highlighted by Photo Day and another workout filled with live batting practice.
- The biggest news item of the day was the early departure of catcher Francisco Cervelli with “right foot discomfort.” The team is calling his status day-to-day, so we’ll see if he takes place in tomorrow’s work and go from there.
- It’s been mentioned multiple times that the organization’s 3rd catcher, Elias Diaz, continues to mash in batting practice, and while Clint Hurdle insisted earlier this week that Diaz needs to continue to play every day – and that would lead to the conclusion that he’ll end up in Indy despite his potent bat – what if Cervelli ends up being injured later this season? There’s an outside chance, at least if you ask me, that Diaz could be called up to catch every day as the starter and back-up Chris Stewart could continue as the #2. At least that’s what I’d consider doing.
- Sunday’s workout was another ‘long’ one, in that it didn’t end until about 1pm. It included fully live batting practice again, this time with the other half of the arms in camp that hadn’t pitched yesterday. Names to keep an eye on in this bunch include Trevor Williams, Pat Light, Dovydas Neverauskas, Edgar Santana, Brandon Cumpton, Casey Sadler, & Nick Kingham.
- Before live BP though, came fundamentals. Baserunning, fielding bunts/executing wheel plays, and practicing pick-off throws.
- Individual defense was next with the following alignments: On Field 1, Chris Stewart & Elias Diaz behind the plate, David Freese & Chris Bostick were at 3B, Jordy Mercer & Phil Gosselin at SS, Josh Harrison & Alen Hanson at 2B, and John Jaso & Jason Rogers at 1B as Josh Bell didn’t run through the drills other than to receive catches at the bag. On Field 4 it was Jose Osuna & Max Moroff at 3B, Adam Frazier & Kevin Newman at SS, Gift Ngoepe & Erich Weiss at 2B, and Joey Terdoslovich & Eric Wood at 1B, with Jacob Stallings and the rest of the minor league catchers as backstops. On Field 4, the outfielders worked on going back on fly balls, and on the half fields 5 & 6, pitchers worked on dry PFP drills and fielding comebackers.
- Live batting practice wasn’t extraordinary, but once Bench Coach Dave Jauss took the mound on Field 1, Andrew McCutchen broke out with several drives to deep left center, including one that caromed off the fence a good 15-feet up and a shot that carried about 400 feet to the same spot, clearing the tall fence and ricocheting up under the awning on the back of the clubhouse.
- Before driving several ropes to center and right-center alongside fellow lefty Gregory Polanco, John Jaso shagged balls in left field on Field 1. Jaso has been open to position flexibility in the past, taking infield at third base on at least one occasion last season. The younger, right-handed AAA version of Jaso is Jose Osuna, a natural first baseman who has learned both corner OF spots and is working at third base a lot in the first few days this spring. Could the 24-year old Osuna, who has more power in his bat, be looked at as a versatile 4th/5th OF and kept over a veteran such as Jaso or utility infielder Phil Gosselin? It might be worth keeping an eye on when Osuna will presumably get more at bats during the absences of McCutchen, Polanco, & Starling Marte for the World Baseball Classic.
Work for the first group of pitchers (Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Ivan Nova, Chad Kuhl, Drew Hutchison, Tyler Glasnow, Steven Brault, Tony Watson, Felipe Rivero, Daniel Hudson, Antonio Bastardo, Wade LeBlanc, A.J. Schugel, Ty Webb, and Juan Nicasio) will be somewhat limited on Monday, as there will not be any live batting practice nor any bullpens thrown.