BRADENTON, Fla. _ The Pittsburgh Pirates have their first of three off days during the exhibition season Tuesday and have played 12 Grapefruit League games. Thus, it is a good early checkpoint to see how the battle for the four open spots in the starting rotation is shaping up. Finding out who will fall in place in the rotation behind left-hander Paul Maholm, the nominal ace of the staff despite winning just nine games last season, is certainly the most intriguing aspect of the spring for the Pirates. While the Pirates brass says the other rotation spots are unsettled, that is more motivational tactic than cold and hard fact. They are trying to light a fire under some pitchers after their 5.08 team ERA last season was the worst in the National League. Left-hander Zach Duke and right-hander Ian Snell are going to be in the rotation, even if noRead More »
Brian Kelly from Bradenton reports the following Infielder Luis Cruiz will miss 7-10 days with a hip injury. Tough break for Cruiz. Team seems high on him and he‚Äôs a sleeper in spring training to make the squad. From what I‚Äôve seen from him, he is a better option than Brian Bixler whose time in the organization is hanging by a thread. Middle infielder Ruben Gotay is seen as a good depth acquisition throughout the organization. The Pirates could still add a few more players in the next 4 weeks as the team has an offer on the table to reliever Will Ohman and remains interested in Pedro Martinez. Eight pitchers threw practice today: Daniel McCutchen, Jeff Karstens, John Grabow, Paul Maholm, Jason Davis, Zach Duke and Denny Bautista. All pitchers threw live batting practice. Daniel McCutchen, a sleeper in camp threw well today. He‚Äôs not a power pitcher butRead More »
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Atlanta Braves are interested in Pirates centerfielder Nate McLouth. Sources told me a few days ago that the Yankees have also checked in with the Pirates about Nate McLouth. A third team has also shown interest. It should not come as any surprise that the Braves are showing interest in pitcher Ian Snell. The Braves have been linked to Snell since the end of the season. John Perrotto of the Beaver County Times reports the Braves have also inquired about Paul Maholm. Pittsburgh is very high on Braves second baseman Kelly Johnson but it would take lot more than Johnson for the Pirates to move McLouth. The Pirates have recently held talks with the Marlins, Cardinals, Braves, Twins, and Yankees about possible trades.