**Earlier today I wrote about Gregory Polanco and some of the defensive adjustments he made last year while he was in Bradenton. Polanco said that adjustment helped him to become a more complete outfielder. Everyone has questions about prospects, even the safe bets like Polanco. For me, Polanco becomes less of a question mark because of his skills in the outfield, and his speed. Those are two skills that translate to every level, and they are skills that will give him value in the majors, no matter how good or bad his bat is. As for the bat, I’m guessing it’s going to be really good, based on his advanced approach at the plate. Earlier today Polanco took batting practice with Andrew McCutchen and Starling Marte, giving a glimpse of the future.
**The Pirates named Francisco Liriano the Opening Day starter today. I don’t keep track of this type of thing, but I can’t remember the announcement coming this early. Not that we didn’t know Liriano was the top choice for that role. The only other possibility would be Gerrit Cole, who is most likely the Opening Day starter in 2015, especially if he picks up where he left off last year.
**Yesterday I wrote about Stolmy Pimentel and how he’s looking like a favorite for the 2014 roster. If you want a look at Pimentel, check out this video I shot of his bullpen from Monday.
**I’ve talked a lot about the potential outfield shifts for the 2014 season, and the latest news comes with the revelation that the Pirates have a program similar to Field F/X at PNC Park, which allows them to track every step that their players take on the field. Read about that, and how it could help the future shifts.
**Jason Grilli is on a lighter throwing program than everyone else, apparently. He threw five pitches off flat ground, and 15 off the mound today, after taking four days off. Right now it seems like this is a situation where the Pirates are going with a custom approach to make sure a veteran doesn’t get overused during Spring Training. Also in this link, Josh Harrison’s wife gave birth to a baby girl, which delayed his arrival to camp.
** With the Baltimore Orioles signing of Ubaldo Jimenez, the Pirates will move up one spot on the amateur draft. Baseball America released their top 30 list for draft prospects on Tuesday and they ranked right-handed high school pitcher Cobi Johnson 24th overall. Tuesday night is usually a slow night in college baseball, but some of the better names were in action. In that link, you can find results from Tuesday, along with an in depth report on Johnson and the strength/weaknesses of this draft class.
**Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bob Nutting will meet with the team tomorrow at 9 AM, and will meet with the media after that. I’ll have quotes tomorrow afternoon. Also, I will have video of Andrew Lambo doing defensive drills in the morning.