BRADENTON, Fla. — Some notes from the second-to-last day of Pirates mini-camp.
I spoke with Clint Robinson, Zach Stewart and Andrew Oliver this morning. I’ll have more from them later today.
Robinson, whose path to the majors was blocked by Eric Hosmer in Kansas City, was excited for a new start. He said playing the field more this past season, rather than being the designated hitter, gave him confidence when moving to the NL.
Oliver said he will stay in Florida until spring training begins so he can continue rehabilitating a biceps injury that plagued him last year. He said he anticipates that he will be ready to throw off a mound by spring training. It did not sound serious; had it been, I doubt the Pirates would have traded for him.
Stewart talked about the moves between four different major and minor league teams last year and how it was nice to settle down in one place. He, like the others, was told to prepare for a starting role but that the bullpen might also be an option.
I would imagine Stewart, Oliver, Jeanmar Gomez and Vin Mazzaro will start as Class AAA depth in case of an injury to one of the five starters, with a chance to make the rotation if they perform well in spring training and Kyle McPherson or Jeff Locke struggle.
I will be interested to see what the Pirates do with Justin Wilson, who like the above four will also report having prepared to start. They could give him a shot to start, meaning he might stay in Indianapolis, or convert him full-time to relief and have him compete for a spot in the bullpen as a second lefty to complement Tony Watson.
***The Pirates spent time working on situational hitting during batting practice Wednesday: infield in, hit and run, squeeze, moving the runner.
***Matt Hague has lost 15 pounds and packed on muscle, partly by working with a boxing trainer.
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