Yes, baby – the games start tomorrow! Glad for the action; camp has been as quiet as a churchmouse so far. Here's whar happened this week:
All the Bucs (except Josh Bell, who is taking live BP and is a week away from resuming full practice) seemed to be in the pink of health coming into camp; only Gerrit Cole was babied during the first session, working an inning of live pitching when everyone else got two. Clint said that was by plan, and it does make sense to bring the Cole Train along slowly. On the other side of the pillow, Fran left the workout with “foot discomfort,” citing the same right foot that was problematic for him in 2016 and is day-to-day.
Jung Ho Kang is still a question mark (image Custom Collage 3)
Jung Ho Kang expressed remorse and then pleaded guilty to his DUI charge. The court will hold a sentencing hearing on March 3rd; he faces a big fine. He still hasn't been banged by the Pirates/MLB yet and may face some hurdles in getting his work permit after his third DUI.
Steven Brault may not have been 100% last year. The lefty tore his hamstring in May, and he may not have been entirely recovered from its affects when he took the hill again in June. He's healthy going into camp, so we'll see if that helps smooth out a fairly rough (0-3, 4.86) maiden voyage.
The Bucco pitching grease monkeys are doing some mechanical work on Tyler Glasnow. He's added a changeup as his third pitch and went from a four-seam fastball to a two-seamer.
Andrew & the boys will leave for their WBC teams on 3/5 (photo Shelley Lipton/Pirates)
Cutch, Starling, El Coffee and Fran leave camp on March 5th to join their WBC teams.
MLBPA union chief Tony Clark met with the players this week and the bulk of the pow-wow involved pace-of-game issues. Afterward, he told the media that the Association was “engaged” re: Jung Ho Kang's situation and would support him, as they would any player.
Hey, look who's back! Joel Hanrahan is the new assistant pitching coach for Low Class A West Virginia Black Bears. Hanny worked just one season after being traded to Boston before having TJ surgeries in 2013 and 2015 that led to his retirement in November.
The Hammer is back (image from psf wallpapers)
The Yankees signed LHP Jon Niese to a minor-league deal with an invite to camp; he's expected to compete for a back-end/long man role.