Good morning from Pirate City.
— Right-hander Charlie Morton is the only pitcher scheduled for a bullpen session today. Here is a short video of his bullpen.
— Duke Welker, Rudy Owens, Jared Hughes, Tony Watson, Mike Crotta, and James McDonald are scheduled for early work (8:45 AM) in the bullpen.
Tomorrow Jeff Locke, Daniel Moskos, Logan Kensing, Tim Wood, Kyle McPherson and Bryan Morris are scheduled for early work.
— On field’s 1 and 2, Pirates position players are scheduled for running, throwing program, fundamental cut-offs and relays, individual defense, staff BP, drill work and bunting today.
Field 1: Garrett Jones, Casey McGehee, Jake Fox took grounders at first; Neil Walker, Anderson Hernandez at second; Clint Barmes at short.
Field 2: Matt Hague, Jeff Clement took grounders at first; Nick Evans, Yamaico Navarro at third; Josh Harrison, Chase d’Arnaud at short; Jordy Mercer at second.
The Pitchers are scheduled for throwing program, PFP/ Rag balls, bunt game, slug bunt, and conditioning.
— This morning, MLB.com is reporting that the Nationals locked up Ryan Zimmerman. Yesterday Bob Nutting discussed doing the same with the Pirates core players. You can read that quote here. He also discussed the high expectations he has for the team in 2012.
— Yesterday Bob Nutting addressed the team and the media. Here are a few more quotes from what was discussed:
On if trading for A.J. Burnett went over financial budget this year, or if the increased attendance helped from 2011:
The Burnett trade to me, the most interesting part was there is no question we could have done that trade for significantly fewer dollars. As we looked at the additions to the roster midway through the season last year, there were very few handicaps that [General Manager] Neal [Huntington] has, but one of them is we are all committed. We are not going to sacrifice future, we’re not going to sacrifice talent, we’re not going to sacrifice high end prospects, and if we need to stretch further in dollars, it’s more appropriate and better for the long-term future of the club. That’s exactly what you saw at the mid-season last year. It’s exactly what you saw with Burnett. I’m very comfortable with that choice because the position for the long-term, but also allows us to acquire talent that we need right now to achieve at PNC Park.
With the draft now having cap amounts, where will that extra money that would have been spent on draft go:
From my perspective it has always been an overall allocation to the baseball operation. Neal and [President] Frank [Coonelly] have been very strategic, I believe, and effective so far finding ways where we can really impact talent. Whether that continues to be in the International market this year, where an additional commitment of resources really can have an impact. The draft picture has changed. Some of the inefficiencies that have been very effectively took advantage of the last few years, more aggressively more than anyone in baseball, some of those windows have been closed. We are actively looking for where do those reopen because we need to be smart. We need to be more efficient, more effective than any other team in baseball. And we need to strive to do that in order to make sure we have talent at the Major League level.
It certainly stays inside the baseball operations. I’m really going to really rely on Neal. How can we use those dollars more effectively? How can we have the biggest impact, the talent in the organization? And also achieve that at the Major League level. He knows clearly that the level of expectation is very high. It’s very high for him this year. It’s very high for the club this year. He’s fully aware we need to continue to solidify and improve.