Images From Spring Opener (Without the Squashed Manatees)

As you no doubt know, the Pirates beat up on a hapless junior college squad in their spring opener by a score of several million to one, roughly.  For some reason, the annual game against the junior college Manatees is usually something less than a laugher.  The Pirates even lost a few years ago, courtesy of Virgil Vasquez.  This time, however, the junior college kids struggled to throw strikes and make routine defensive plays.

Not much can come out of a game like this, but Corey Wimberly showed he knows where his path to the big leagues lies.  He took pitches, tried to bunt his way on, and ran whenever he could.  He opened the game at second and then moved to center.  With Matt Diaz, who’s strictly a corner guy, likely to be the only full-time outfielder coming off the bench, Wimberley’s ability to play center would give the Pirates somebody other than starting leftfielder Jose Tabata to spell Andrew McCutchen.

The game also made it clear that one of the major competitions this spring will be for what may be only one bench spot as a right-handed-hitting corner utility player.  Steve Pearce, Garrett Atkins, Andy Marte and Josh Fields all appeared, with Fields playing three positions, and Pearce and Atkins each whacking two extra base hits.

Most of the pitchers looked sharp enough, throwing strikes and locating their pitches well, to the extent you can tell against overmatched competition.  Aaron Thompson and Jeff Locke sat at about 91 mph, Justin Wilson a bit higher.  Mike Crotta and Kyle McPherson both got up at least to 94.  Tyler Yates appeared to have his velocity back, but his control was off in his first game competition following the long Tommy John layoff.  Rudy Owens wasn’t as sharp as usual, throwing 88-91, missing with his first three pitches, and later walking one.

Things may be a little different against David Price and the Rays tomorrow.

Wimberly getting ready to run

Lambo

Thompson

Pearce mashes a double

Locke

D'Arnaud is eager to hit those Manatee pitchers

Crotta

McPherson

The Future watching The Present -- Heredia (left) and Allie (right)

Wilson

Owens goes for the grizzled veteran look

Author: WTM

Wilbur Miller joined the site in July 2010. He has long been known for his excellent Player Profiles, which he brought to the site in February 2011, combining them with the existing Pirates Prospects Player Pages. Wilbur maintains the player pages section of the site, and provides regular articles to the main portion of the site, including a weekly Prospects Trend piece, featuring the best and worst prospects from the previous week.

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  • Anonymous

    Nice pictures, especially of the “future”. Good eye!

  • cocktailsfor2

    WTM, are you down there @ ST?

  • cocktailsfor2

    WTM, are you down there @ ST?