Can't have a week start off any better than with the phrase “pitchers and catchers report today…” And with some familiar ol' names to mentor the boys – the Bucco throwback instructors are John Candelaria, Rennie Stennett, Bill Mazeroski, Bill Virdon, Kent Tekulve, Mike LaValliere, Steve Blass, Manny Sanguillen and Omar Moreno. That's a pretty fair group of hardballers.
Throwback coaches – Mike LaValliere, John Candelaria, Omar Moreno, Maz, Steve Blass, Teke, Rennie Stennett (back) Manny Sanguillen & Bill Virdon (front) (photo Dave Arrigo/Pirates)
Everyone was present for the Pirates' first workout Friday except for bad boy Jung-Ho Kang.
At least one act of the recent Cutch drama has been put to bed. Clint said that Andrew will return to the three hole this season. McCutchen penned an article in the Players Tribune that covered the roller coaster ride he was on during the off season.
The Reds claimed RHP Lisalverto Bonilla after the Bucs had DFA'ed him to clear a spot for RHP Pat Light and then jumped on RHP Nefi Ogando who was DFA'ed to make room for IF Phil Gosselin. The Bucs had hoped to sneak one or both of them through waivers and even had lockers set up for them in Bradenton. The Reds also signed long-ago Pirates RHP Bronson Arroyo to a minor league deal.
Tony's bank account took a bit of a hit (2016 Topps)
Tony Watson had his arbitration hearing on Wednesday. The Pirates offered Tony $5.6M; Watson countered w/$6M. The Bucs won the case, but it was still a nice bump for Watson, who earned $3.45M in 2016. It was the only Pittsburgh arb board hearing scheduled.
Dave Cameron of Fangraphs looked at the Top 10 Transactions of the off season and Ivan Nova's deal popped up in the middle. Enos Sarris of the same site ranked the starting rotations by going eight men deep, and the Bucs came out quite well.
Pretty neat – Josh Nelson of the South Side Sox has put together a spreadsheet of the top prospects per BA, MLB Pipeline, ESPN, BP and MiLB to get an average rating plus a view of where they stand in all the lists.
Cliff Corcoran of Sports on Earth has the Pirates farm system as a top five group again this year.
S-Rod' injury was worse than expected (2016 Topps Chrome)
Bad news for a good guy – S-Rod will likely miss the 2017 season when it was discovered that he had a complete rotor cuff tear during shoulder surgery. Sean was injured when his car was T-Boned last month. His wife and children were also injured, but are recovering well from a variety of breaks, bruises, and cuts.
There was good news, too. Former Pirates 1B Andrew Lambo got the all-clear to play after fighting off testicular cancer last year.
Ol' Bucco coach Rich Donnelly will be reunited with Team USA manager Jim Leyland as the WBC club's bullpen coach. Donnelly worked with Leyland in Pittsburgh, Florida, and Detroit.