A.J. Burnett

Spring Training Notes: Burnett Reactions, Martin, Volquez, Wandy, Health

The Pirates opened Spring Training yesterday with the first workouts for pitchers and catchers. For all of our Spring Training coverage from yesterday and the rest of the Spring, check out the Spring Training page on the site. Below are the leftovers from day one, along with some video and a great quote from Russell Martin on the team’s chances in 2014.

A.J. Burnett Reactions

Russell Martin reacting to A.J. Burnett signing with the Phillies:

“I wish him well. I hope he stays healthy and has a good season, and hopefully we meet him in the playoffs and beat him.”

Martin on Burnett’s leadership:

“The things that he taught the kids last year are not forgotten. So everything that they’ve learned from A.J., I hope they don’t forget. And I don’t think that they will. But he definitely was a leader in the way that he approached the game, and the way that he competed when he went on the mound. And kind of the warrior type attitude that he had, kind of trickled down all the way through. But he wasn’t the only leader on that team. Liriano was kind of more of a quiet presence, but he took the ball every time out there and he competed just like A.J. did, in his own way. You can’t replace somebody, but the next guy can do whatever he can do to make his own mark.”

Clint Hurdle on how to replace Burnett’s innings:

“I think one of the exciting things is that it opens up opportunity for men that we have here in camp. One of the things that you continually want to give to people is opportunity. We’ve got depth in the starting rotation, and we’ve got some guys in place that fared well for us and had some good, solid campaigns for us last year. Some guys are still growing. It could be one guy, it could be two guys to pick up the volume of innings. That’s a concern anytime you have someone who leaves the rotation that pitched close to 200 innings for back to back seasons. But we’ve created a culture of opportunity and of manning up.”


Edinson Volquez Bullpen

Here is a short video of Edinson Volquez throwing his first bullpen session of Spring Training. I’m hoping to get more than four pitches in future videos. Currently getting used to the recording functions on my new phone.


Health Updates

**Clint Hurdle said that Wandy Rodriguez would be on a similar throwing program as everyone else. Today is his day to throw on the mound. I’ll have some photos and video on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

**Outside of Kyle McPherson, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery that he underwent last July, everyone in camp is healthy.


Quote of the Day

“I think we’re going to be better than we were last year. 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.” — Russell Martin on the 2014 Pirates

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

First Pitch: An Important Part of Every Team That Rarely Gets Discussed

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Wandy Rodriguez Gives Good News After First Bullpen (Video)

  • Born4rf

    Glad to see Wandy on the regular throwing regime. I guess that is as good news as we could get. I would be happy if he could give us two strong months like he did last year. By then, if his arm acts again, we should have someone in the system ready to step infill time. I am really high on Cumpton, he has been a horse since we drafted him and he does throw serious gas. Not sure why scouts don’t mention him among our better prospects more. Tim, thoughts on Cumpton since he might be our 6th starter at this point?

  • wkkortas

    Did Martin mention yet again that he is in the best shape of his career?

  • Terry Mathews

    Tim, what time do they start the workouts each morning? And are most of the position players there at this point?

    • Tim Williams

      I know that they’re starting today around 10:30. Yesterday it was 12:30, but that was the first day. I’m guessing it will be around 10:30 going forward.

  • scbucsfan

    It would have been nice to have Burnett here when Taillon comes up. I could be way off, but it seems that the “warrior attitude” is the only part missing from Taillon. I’m not saying he is going to be a bust, I think he will be a quality starter for many years. This perception may also be because of the system in place where they work on specific pitches at certain parts of the minors vs just pitching to win. I guess bottom line is I think Burnett for $14M in 2014 would have been money well spent.

    • Tim Williams

      If you’re saying that Taillon does not have a “warrior attitude”, then you are way off. He is definitely a “warrior” on the mound.

      • scbucsfan

        Good to hear, I was hoping my perception was off. I’ve never had a chance to watch him in a game. I guess mound attitude doesn’t come over in reading articles. Would you say his mound presence is similar to Cole? Mound presence is one of the things I really liked when he came up. No fear for a kid coming up in the middle of a pennant race. It will be awesome to see the same thing happen again this year with Taillon.

        • buster09

          I have seen both Taillon and Cole at AA scbucs,and take it from me also,Taillon is every bit as intense as Cole was

    • stickyweb

      From what I’ve seen of Cole, he’s definitely the warrior type that could rub off on others. As a bonus, he doesn’t show up his manager and teammates. At least not yet.

  • The Masked robshelb

    The Post-Gazette is reporting that Mr. Huntington said that Wandy would be on a *different* program than the rest of the guys —

    Wandy Rodriguez, who missed the final four months of 2013 due to an injury to the flexor tendon in his left forearm, will throw a bullpen session today, Hurdle said.

    “We’re going to take it slow with him this spring and do everything in our power to put him in a position to be successful,” Huntington said. “He’s kind of on a different program than the other guys.”

    Read more:

    So we have Clint Hurdle saying one thing and Neal Huntington saying just the opposite, on the very same day ???

    Wow, now THAT’S confusing . . .

    • leadoff

      The key words here are that the Post-gazette is reporting, it should read the Post-gazette is spinning. Huntington might be the most misunderstood guy when he talks that I have heard.

    • buster09

      ANYTHING I read in the PG,( columns or Blogs ) or from John Perotto I think ” ohhh kayyyy “,now is this true or someone’s opinion ?

  • emjayinTN

    Tim: Thanks for the update and it is good news to hear that Edinson Volquez is throwing. Can we return to 2008 when he went 17-11 for the Reds? He had been through rough patches with Cincy since that time, but pitched well for SD in 2012, and the Dodgers last year. His K/W Ratio of 26/8 in 28 innings for the Dodgers is promising. A part of the Rangers trade to Cincy for Josh Hamilton, and then part of the Cincy group sent to SD for Mat Latos before the 2012 season. He’s due to prove some of those folks wrong – I hope! Great comments from Russell Martin about the loss of AJ Burnett, especially the nice words about the quiet leadership quality of Francisco Liriano.

  • piraddict

    I am with Russ Martin on the expectation that the 2014 Bucs will be better than the 2013 Bucs.

    • jaygray007

      I think they’ll win less games, but i think they’ll be a better team, if that makes sense. they got a little lucky last year.

  • leadoff

    IMO, the Pirates will be much better at the start of this year than they were at the start of last year, as the year progresses they should be even better when they get Polanco, Taillon and maybe Kingham to the majors. Also one of the most overlooked areas of improvement on this organization is it’s depth, the Pirates are deeper this year than they were last year, you can’t win without good depth.

  • Nate Wilder

    I really feel like Martin’s leadership might have gone under the radar a bit, especially when AJ was much more vocal and animated. Same goes for Liriano. Both are guys who have quietly done exactly what they needed to to make this team work and then some.

    Anyway, glad to finally see some balls being thrown!

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