Pirates Spring Training

Pirates+Spring+Training

The Pittsburgh Pirates are coming off of a Major League record of 18 straight losing seasons, but in the process have started to build a core for their team.  Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, and Neil Walker have been the gems of the Pirates farm system for the past few years and all reached the majors in 2010.  The Pirates added to their young core and addressed their lack of quality pitching when they drafted Jameson Taillon  in the June 2010 draft. Manager John Russell was fired, and former Rockies manager Clint Hurdle became manager in December.

In the offseason, the Pirates parted ways with mainstays Zach Duke, Lastings Milledge, Andy LaRoche as well as Delwyn Young.  Newcomers include infielders Lyle Overbay and Garret Atkins, outfielder Matt Diaz as well as pitchers Kevin Corriea and Scott Olsen.  James McDonald, Scott Olsen, Charile Morton and Correia will be competing to find a spot in a starting rotation that includes returners Paul Maholm and Ross Ohlendorf.  Joel Hanrahan will be the closer, taking over for the departed Octavio Dotel.

As for the position players, Overbay will look to start at first base after coming over from the Blue Jays.  Atkins will provide depth for an infield that is shored up by Neil Walker at second, Ronny Cedeno at short stop, and Pedro Alvarez at third. Matt Diaz should probably compete with incumbent right fielder Garret Jones, and it wouldn’t be suprising if both saw significant playing time.

Led by Clint Hurdle, it is a new year and in many ways a new team in Pittsburgh. Spring training is very important for this team as they get used to a new coaching staff and style. Hurdle is known to have a more firey disposition than his predesecor.  The Pirates need to solidify their starting rotation, as well as improving weaknesses such as base running. The key to the Pirates’ success will be developing their young talent.