Neal Huntington met with the media today, following the latest round of cuts from Major League camp. Here are the notes:
**Francisco Liriano is day-to-day, and continues to have a little tightness in his groin.
**Brent Morel will go to Indianapolis, where he will primarily play third base. He will also get some time at first base, and will get pre-game work at second base. Huntington said that he might get in-game playing time there if the pre-game work looks good.
“We should have depth at a number of spots that we feel good about down there,” Huntington said.
**Phil Irwin’s elbow is healthy enough for him to pitch. Huntington said that the team was just running out of innings in Major League camp, and that Irwin would go to minor league camp to get stretched out for the Indianapolis rotation.
“Watching him spin the breaking ball this Spring Training was fun to watch,” Huntington said. “How aggressive he was able to spin it. The sharpness and the action that he had too. The fastball velocity was just about where he was. [He's] throwing the ball well.”
Huntington said that Irwin could be an early season depth option, depending on how he’s throwing if the Pirates need a pitcher.
“If he’s where he was when we called him up a year ago, he can absolutely do that,” Huntington said. “But the nice part is we’ve got some other guys that can fill that role as well.”
**Jeff Locke threw two innings yesterday at Pirate City. Huntington said that he threw well, but that he’s another guy who needs innings.
“We’re just out of time in order to get him stretched to 100 pitches by the end of Spring Training,” Huntington said.
Unlike Irwin, Locke remains in big league camp. The Pirates could have the option of putting him on the disabled list at the end of camp, rather than optioning him to Triple-A. However, this would accomplish nothing, since he’d go to Triple-A in either situation to continue getting stretched out.
**Edinson Volquez starts tonight against the Yankees. Huntington said that he hoped to see more of the good than the bad this time around from Volquez.
“We’ve seen three quality pitches at various times during Spring Training, even within the same inning,” Huntington said. “But unfortunately there have also been balls that have been left in the middle of the plate. We haven’t handled the ball defensively behind him.”
**Huntington was asked whether teams have been calling about his relievers. He didn’t specifically answer that, but said they have the flexibility to wait until the last minute to make sure they don’t have any needs that might arise from injuries. If that doesn’t happen, expect a trade.
“We probably will have a pretty good pitcher available at the end of camp,” Huntington said.