Ah the magical time is back upon us. Our favorite players have migrated south, and campus is littered with people sporting their team colors. Spring Training is here! I’m sure a lot of people have already reported on what is going on in Pirates camp so I’ll be brief.
Hanrahan named closer
Today, Clint Hurdle announced that Joel Hanrahan will be the closer for the beginning of the season. One of the main story lines for this spring was going to be the battle between Evan Meek and Joel for the closer role. However after workouts today, the staff felt ready to make a decision. Hurdle told Jen Langosch
”We had a lot of internal discussion.I don’t think there was a bad choice. But based on some experience that Joel has had in the past, just for the makeup of our ballclub, the continuity that was shown late last season with them piggybacking each other, that’s the way we’re going to start the season.”
I fully expected Hanrahan to be the closer, despite Evan looking in much better shape than last year. Joel throws harder and has more movement on his pitches. Plus, Evan is as durable as a reliever as they come. They’d be wasting innings by sitting him in the bullpen waiting to close out games.
Joe Beimel to be Lefty Specialist
It was also announced today that despite being a non-roster invitee, lefty reliever Joe Beimel will be in a set-up role with the team on Opening Day according to Trib reporter Rob Biertempfel
. Now in his second go around with the team that drafted him, Beimel has been O.K. in this role with other teams (lefty batters are hitting .259 off him in his career), but the lack of bullpen depth after Hanrahan and Meek has pretty much given him the job by default.
Doumit Saga Continues
published in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette yesterday, shows that Ryan Doumit situation isn’t getting any better. With the third salary on the team ($5.1 million this year), he is essentially relegated to a bench role after the signings of Lyle Overbay and Matt Diaz. The trade rumors continue to swirl about him as well. Despite this, Doumit is ready to but the distractions aside and start the season.
“I can be an everyday player. That’s my approach. No matter where they put me, though, I’ll be the best that I can be. It’s not something I’m going to dwell on. I’m already tired of talking about this. I’ll show up and let my play do the talking.”
Pirate GM Neil Huntington isn’t going to force the issue when it comes to potentially moving him.
“We’re not dying to move him. He has value to us. It has to make sense to us, and we haven’t found that.”
This is definitely something to keep an eye on before the season starts.
In addition to doing workouts, there is a lot of other pre-season housekeeping that goes on before the season starts. For example, the players were getting their pictures taken for the always entertaining scoreboard art on the big board at PNC Park (pic from @BucsInsider).
I’m always looking forward to see how those turn out.
The Pirates first game is February 26th against the hated Manatee Community College Manatees.
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