First Pitch

First Pitch: The Best Thing That Happened to the Pirates Last Off-Season

First Pitch: The Best Thing That Happened to the Pirates Last Off-Season

The big focus this past off-season was on A.J. Burnett. The right-hander played a big role in the Pittsburgh rotation the previous two years, then after having his status up in the air for several months, he signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. There was another person who the Phillies tried to sign away from the Pirates (not Marlon Byrd, who they did sign away), and that person's importance to the Pirates was much bigger than Burnett or any other pitcher. This person turned down the Phillies and stayed with the Pirates. His name is Jim Benedict.

The Phillies interviewed Benedict for their open pitching coach position, and came away impressed. Eventually, he turned them down, and remained in Pittsburgh as a special assistant to the General Manager, with his most important role being the work he does with pitchers in both the majors and minors.

I was thinking about Benedict on Sunday after Vance Worley's start. As Ryan Palencer reported earlier in the season, Worley spent the fi...

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First Pitch
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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 AccuScore.com, 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.

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