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Insider Only Day 4: Pirates Spring Training Report

Bradenton FL — *16 Pitchers threw off the mound on Sunday in what was the 4th official workout for pitchers and catchers.
The 16 pitchers were Ramon Aguero, Brian Bass, Brian Burres, Charlie Morton, Daniel McCutchen, Evan Meek, Brendan Donnelly, Javier Lopez, Zach Duke Vinnie Chulk, Jeff Sues, Jeremy Powell, Wil Ledezma, Octavio Dotel, and Ronald Uviedo.
*Reliever Craig Hansen did some light throwing after the Pirates session today.
*Pitching coach Joe Kerrigan mixed things using a pink construction string across the plate for the pitchers.
Last year Kerrigan was famous for using dummies at the plate but has yet to bring them out through the first four days of workouts.
Charlie Morton was among a few pitchers who threw very well.
*Speaking to the media on Sunday, Joe Kerrigan was very critical of pitcher Zach Duke who struggled in the second half of last season. The vibe from the coaching staff is that Paul Maholm not Zach Duke will be go into the season opener as the teams No. 1 starter.
The Pirates continue to blame Paul Maholm’s struggles in 2009 on injuries. Maholm is entering his 6th season in the Pirates organization.
*8-to-10 players took batting practice on Sunday. Outfielder John Raynor hit the ball well and the rule-5 draft pick has good bat speed and gets a lot of power from his back legs.
*I spoke to Neil Walker on Sunday and he told me not to look too much into him taking ground balls at second base, which was the case on Saturday.
According to Walker, he has not been given any indication by the coaching staff that he will see time at second base when actual workouts begin on Tuesday.
*Based on comments from Neal Huntington, the 5th outfielder spot is Brandon Moss’ to lose. Indications are he will be given every opportunity to earn a roster spot. I believe as others do, that the Pirates have better options.
*The age of Jose Tabata has been a hot topic this weekend. It’s hard to find an outsider who believes he’s actually 21 years old. Most scouts continue to indicate he’s 24-25 years old. The Pirates indicate his age is not a concern for them.

*Catcher Ryan Doumit has been in very good spirits. Doumit, healthy for the first time in months, appears motivated to rebound from a disappointing 09 season.
Pitchers and Catchers will go through their final workout on Monday before official full squad workouts begin on Tuesday when all position players are due to report.
*Centerfielder Andrew McCutchen is expected to arrive to Bradenton on Monday.
*Report provided by Bryan DePaoli. Bryan recently spent three seasons with the Jacksonville University Baseball program of the Atlantic Sun Conference as a part time recruiter/evaluator. Bryan will be based in Bradenton, FL for the next five weeks providing daily spring training updates for Inside Pittsburgh Sports.com.

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