BRADENTON, Fla. -- Friday is the official reporting date for ... Anderson Hernandez?Well, yeah. Officially, it's full-squad report day. But the middle infielder will fill that squad. All position players have made their presences earlier than compulsory with the exception of Hernandez, a non-roster invitee with six years' Major League experience, most recently with the Astros in 2010. Ordinarily, check-in day would be spent with position players undergoing weigh-ins and physicals. Having players stream in all week -- the latest two on Thursday were outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and infielder Gustavo Nunez -- essentially gives the Pirates an extra day of drills, even though the first official full-squad workout is not until Saturday. Anderson Hernandez was still in the Houston organization last season, spending it all with Triple-A Oklahoma City, where the 29-year-old Dominican batted .300 in 136 games, with 21 stolen bases. The cast has changed considerably, with 17 players here now who weren't in the Pirates big league camp last year, when similarly virtually everyone reported before they needed to. That, of course, was Clint Hurdle's first camp as Pirates manager.
March Madness has a home in Pirate City
BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Madness in March includes Spring Training clubhouses from Florida to Arizona buzzing with players and staff coming up with their own 64-team brackets for the NCAA Basketball Tournament. That has become part of the rites of spring.Forget placing action on others. If they were to have a similar single-elimination tournament of their own, what would be the chosen activity of Pirates players and coaches?
(Full disclosure: The concept comes from the Cubs, who, under new manager Dale Sveum's direction, are having a 64-man Bunting Tournament.)Some of the Pirates' nominations: Bass fishing
Darts Pitcher Charlie Morton thought the target-shooting suggestion was a good one, "Say, from maybe 500 feet away." But another pitcher quickly rejected a darts tournament, with Jason Grilli, not looking for any unfair advantage, pointing out, "That would be too much like pitching."
With position players in camp, hurlers are ready for the next stage of their workouts: Pitching to live batters for the first time. Everyone is in the early batting practice rotation with the exception of Charlie Morton, who in deference to gradually making his way back from October hip surgery will not take a turn until Feb. 29. Among those scheduled to throw BP on Friday are Jeff Karstens, Kevin Correia, Jeff Locke and a pair of non-roster righties who have been impressive in early camp, Juan Cruz and Ryota Igarashi. Club owner Bob Nutting is due to arrive in Pirate City on Saturday, and he is expected to address the entire team prior to that morning's first full-squad workout.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.