02/25/11 5:07 PM EST
Four Pirates spring games to be televised
By Evan Drellich / MLB.com
FSN Pittsburgh's first telecast is scheduled for March 6, when the Blue Jays visit McKechnie Field at 1 p.m. ET.
A 7 p.m. game on March 10 vs. the Orioles, a 1 p.m. game vs. the Red Sox on March 19 and a 1 p.m. away game vs. the Yankees on March 26 are also on the slate.
The Pirates' flagship radio station, FM NewsTalk 104.7, will carry 12 spring games, including Saturday's opener against the Tampa Bay Rays at 1 p.m. ET, from Port Charlotte, Fla.
All other Pirates Grapefruit League games can be heard on pirates.com, with the exception of two split-squad games: Feb. 28 vs. Tampa Bay in Port Charlotte, Fla., and March 12 vs. Toronto in Dunedin, Fla.
Coinciding with the day of the Pirates' regular-season opener against the Cubs at Wrigley Field, FSN Pittsburgh is to transition to ROOT SPORTS beginning April 1.
ROOT SPORTS will carry live pregame and postgame shows for all 150 regular-season game broadcasts, plus a weekly magazine show and team-related programming throughout the season. The broadcasts are to be in high-definition.
All 162 regular season games can be heard on FM NewsTalk 104.7.
After tough 2010, Thompson off to good start
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Left-hander Aaron Thompson has no desire to talk about last season, but he'll go on for a bit about how much he believes in the Pirates.
"It's a new start, and that's kind of what it's all about," the soon-to-be 24-year-old said. "I'm so happy to be a Pirate. [I'm] really buying into this program; it's really fun to be somewhere where it's easy to be yourself. And that's really what they allowed me to do, just to go out and be me."
A waiver selection from the Nationals this offseason and a 2005 first-round Draft pick, Thompson made all but one of his 2010 appearances for Washington's Double-A Harrisburg club, and he struggled. His ERA ballooned to 5.80 in 26 starts after he posted a 3.31 ERA in six starts at the same stop the season before.
2010 Spring Training - Pittsburgh Pirates
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Spring Training Info
Likely to start the year in Triple-A Indianapolis' rotation, Thompson needed just 11 pitches to strike out the first three batters in the Pirates' 21-1 win in an exhibition against State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota on Friday. Granted, those were college students and not professionals, but it's still not a bad way to kick things off.
"Even though it's not the real teams, it's nice to hear, 'Your 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates,' when we take the field," Thompson said.
"Who cares who we're playing? I can tell you everybody wearing a yellow shirt out there doesn't care who we're playing."
Thompson knows that the Pirates could need help from the Minors at some point this season, but he said he's not thinking about a potential Major League debut.
"That's something that you saw a lot with the Nationals last year," he said, "[but] there's nothing that I can control about that. ... When it comes down to it, Clint [Hurdle] and Neal [Huntington] are going to make those decisions. And you always hope they favor you, but you never know."
Olsen ready to throw another 'pen session
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates left-hander Scott Olsen is scheduled for another 25-pitch bullpen session of only fastballs on Saturday, as he works back from a sore left hamstring.
Olsen threw 25 pitches on Thursday, rested Friday, and will throw Saturday before being reevaluated.
"Just try to get him the feel and timing of the slope," pitching coach Ray Searage said.
Right-hander Evan Meek threw off flat ground and played long toss on Friday, but it's not known when he'll return to the mound. Meek has been bothered by tightness in his right calf.
"There's no rush with Evan," Searage said. "I want to make sure he's 110 percent before I send his butt out there. He's playing long toss and doing flat ground right now."