Notes: Herrera and Walker shine in win
Bucs win college exhibition, prepare for Grapefruit League
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates manager Jim Tracy saw a lot of things he liked in his team Wednesday during the final tune-up before the Grapefruit League begins.
It wasn't the score that mattered so much -- Pittsburgh won, 8-1, over Manatee Community College -- but the progress he saw. Of particular mention were starter Yoslan Herrera and third baseman Neil Walker.
Herrera fanned two and faced the minimum batters in two innings to earn the win. A Cuban defector, the right-hander had been out of baseball since 2005 while living in the Dominican Republic.
Tracy said there were small issues that needed to be addressed with Herrera, but he was confident they were changes that could be made.
"We're just going to take some small steps with him, and hopefully just gradually progress," Tracy said. "He's a good-looking young pitcher. His mechanics are very sound, and all signs point toward the fact that he's just going to continue to get better.
"The more he learns, and the more he progresses, and the more he gains a better understanding of what we're all about, he's just going to keep getting better and better."
Walker, who was converted to a third baseman at the beginning of Spring Training after spending his career behind the plate, made several flashy stops in his second consecutive game at the hot corner, including fielding a rolling bunt for an out that earned Tracy's seal of approval.
A good barometer of the fielder Walker is, Tracy said, was to look at the difference in the hard balls hit to Walker on Tuesday during the intrasquad scrimmage, and the slower plays which came his way Wednesday, and see the degree of effectiveness he had with both.
"In the little time that [Walker's] been over there, he's just a great natural athlete, that's what it is," Tracy said. "His ability to adapt to this situation, he looks very natural. I haven't seen him do one thing that would suggest to me that anyone would sit around and think that he couldn't, or won't eventually be very good at that spot."
What ails you? Outfielder Xavier Nady had a colonoscopy done Wednesday at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh in a continued quest to reveal what caused the intestinal inflammation he suffered last week. The results were not in as of Wednesday evening, but general manager Dave Littlefield said he'd probably know more by Thursday. ... Infielder Nick Green left Wednesday's scrimmage after injuring his toe while running out a fly ball. It was unclear which foot was injured, or the extent of the injury.
Moving in: More inspiration arrived from the north after Wednesday's game in the form of Manny Sanguillen. A Pirates catcher for 12 seasons, including the 1971 and 1979 world champions, Sanguillen will be on hand to advise the team for the remainder of Spring Training. Shortly after his arrival, Sanguillen's name appeared over a locker which formerly was home to Serguey Linares, a Cuban defector who was unable to report to camp this season because of problems with his U.S. work visa.
Lights, camera, action! Jason Bay and Freddy Sanchez filmed a commercial for a FOX All-Star Game ad in Clearwater, Fla., before workouts on Wednesday morning.
Duck! Harold Smith was able to walk after a Josh Shortsleff fastball struck him in the left temple during the third inning, causing his batting helmet to fly off. Smith remained on the field for a few moments as he was examined by a trainer, and then he was transported via golf cart to the Pirates' training room for further evaluation.
Tracy confirmed after the game that Smith was fine.
Up next: The Pirates begin their preseason schedule at 1 p.m. ET Thursday against Cincinnati. The game, played at McKechnie Field, will feature Pittsburgh right-hander Zach Duke against Reds lefty Eric Milton. Also slated to pitch for the Pirates: right-handers Matt Capps, Kevin Grybowski and Solomon Torres, and lefty Tom Gorzelanny.
Dawn Klemish is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.