PITTSBURGH -- Though the city's below-freezing temperatures would hardly suggest that it's time to play baseball, there were indeed signs of spring sprouting from PNC Park on Friday morning.
Equipment manager Scott Bonnett was among a group of employees who spent the morning loading up the team's equipment truck in advance of the start of Spring Training. That truck left Pittsburgh later Friday morning and will travel approximately 1,070 miles from Pittsburgh to Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla.
The journey is expected to take close to two days.
Bonnett and others will unload the truck -- a process that takes about three hours -- on Monday, and will then need about two days to get all of the equipment organized.
Some supplies and equipment are already at Pirate City, where several players have begun workouts. The team opted to ship most of the weight and training equipment separately, meaning that this truck's transports included primarily personal luggage, shirts, jackets, pants, hats and other miscellaneous clubhouse items.
There is also a load of equipment that, after arriving in Florida, will then be shipped on to the organization's facility in the Dominican Republic.
"[We] began preparing in October," said Bonnett, a 12-year staff member. "Right after the season, I start doing inventory. The second week of October, I've already started ordering stuff."
Pitchers and catchers who are not already in Bradenton are required to report by Saturday, Feb. 18. Manager Clint Hurdle will hold his first pitchers/catchers workout the following day. Position players will trickle in soon after, with the first full-squad workout scheduled for Friday, Feb. 24.
As the organization prepares for Spring Training, it is a little more settled than it was a year ago. This will mark Hurdle's second spring camp with Pittsburgh, and the club is coming off a respectable 72-win season in 2011. The Pirates had not reached that high of a win total in the previous six seasons.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.