2/13/2014 5:30 P.M. ET
Volquez joins pitching staff full of returning talent
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
BRADENTON, Fla. -- For an untold number of years, the first day of Spring Training workouts for Pirates pitchers and catchers was consumed by introductions. Panning for pitching gold as they sought a winning formula, the Bucs consistently turned over their mound forces, parading in newcomers they hoped would help turn the trick.
But when the hurlers went through their first workout of 2014 on Thursday, it was a reunion of old friends. Double-takes were prompted by this realization: The 21 pitchers on the 40-man roster include only one newcomer, right-hander Edinson Volquez, signed as a free agent.
The other 20 are all incumbents who were in the organization last season. Although the status of one comes with an asterisk: Righty reliever Duke Welker was sent to Minnesota after the season, joining Alex Presley in the deal that brought Justin Morneau, but six weeks later the Pirates reacquired Welker for lefty Kris Johnson.
Seven position players join pitchers, catchers in Florida
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Everyone was present and accounted for on the first day of the Pirates' Spring Training, with pitchers and catchers scoring 100 percent at roll call.
Thirty-six batterymen, including non-roster invitees, were in-house. Newcomer Edinson Volquez, who was in town but didn't make it to camp on Wednesday's report day, was one of the first in the Pirate City locker room Thursday morning.
Seven position players were also already on hand in advance of their mandatory report day on Monday: the double-play combination of shortstop Jordy Mercer and second baseman Neil Walker, outfielders Jose Tabata and Jeff Decker, first basemen Gaby Sanchez and Chris McGuiness, and shortstop Chase d'Arnaud.
They underwent the routine entrance physicals, and field workouts began around 12:30 p.m. ET.
"We are in a good place with the physical presence of the guys here," manager Clint Hurdle said after the workouts. "They are excited and eager to go. The angst we felt after Game 5 [of the National League Division Series] in St. Louis, we earned that. And we're definitely looking forward to taking the next step.
Martin offers praise for former teammate Jeter
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Russell Martin had an eventful two seasons in the Bronx before signing as a free agent with the Pirates prior to last season. The highlight of those two seasons will probably be something which he will fondly recall once his career is over: Playing with Derek Jeter.
"He was a great teammate," Martin said of the Yankees shortstop, the day after Jeter announced this season will be his last. "I've had a lot of great teammates, but he stood out. What you see and hear is definitely what you get. A class act, all the way around.
"I have nothing but praise for Derek and how he approaches the game and his work ethic, and for the way he conducts himself on and off the field. A role model, defined."
393 1/3: Innings pitched by A.J. Burnett in his two seasons with the Pirates, both times leading the staff. Jeff Locke's workload ranked second in 2013 at 166 1/3 innings, nearly 25 fewer than Burnett's 191.
"I don't know what all the experts are saying. But I consider myself an expert, and I think we're going to do better."
-- Martin, on the Pirates' prospects to improve upon last season's 94 wins despite criticism of the front office's quiet offseason
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.