This time of year the pitching rotations in the Spring Training games get kind of crazy. Minor league rotations aren’t like big league rotations. There are no Opening Day starters or number two starters. You pitch when you pitch. Pitchers are currently on a schedule in Spring Training, and that schedule carries over to the regular season. Whoever is slated to start on Opening Day is the Opening Day starter.
In a lot of cases, starting pitchers will remain in extended Spring Training for one more start, even after their team breaks camp. This is to keep them on their five day schedule. As an example, Altoona broke camp this morning, but Casey Sadler stuck around and pitched for Bradenton. Today a lot of guys were pitching out of their normal levels, partly due to Sadler, and just to make sure everyone got innings.
Below are some updates from the last two days. I took yesterday off to work on the season previews, catch up on transcribing some interviews, and finally finish unpacking my apartment just in time for family to come visit this weekend. So pretty much all three of those things, but mostly the unpacking. Even though I took a day off, I somehow found myself over at Pirate City for a few innings. I didn’t do an update yesterday, so I’ll start off today’s update with some observations from yesterday, then get to today’s games. Today’s updates will also be short, since I spent a lot of time today getting the minor league rotations and lineups, which are posted at those links.
**Tyler Glasnow made a start. I only saw one inning, and heard that his curveball was working well. He went four innings, allowing no runs on one hit, with three walks and four strikeouts. Control was an issue for him, and that will be something to watch this year in West Virginia. He was 90-95 MPH with his fastball in the early innings, and 89-91 in the last inning, touching 93 once.
**Right when I got to the field I watched Alen Hanson double off the wall to left. So the usual.
**Ryan Hafner threw two innings and had some control issues. He was missing a lot down in the zone and in the dirt, which is where you want to miss if you’re going to miss. Hafner was throwing his slider a lot, which is a pitch he just added recently.
**There were a lot of home runs today from the Pirates. It wasn’t really windy, although it was hot and not very humid, which might have led to some good conditions. West Virginia and the extended Spring Training guys were at home. Barrett Barnes and Dilson Herrera each homered in the West Virginia game. Elvis Escobar had two homers in the extended game. One of those was an inside the park homer. Kevin Ross also hit a two run homer. None of these were cheap homers, except maybe for Escobar, since anything hit to the gap in right-center is an automatic triple if you’ve got any kind of speed. Escobar has speed, and was able to make it all the way around the bases. The throw beat him to the plate, but he was able to slide around the tag.
**Robby Rowland threw for West Virginia. He went five innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on six hits. He didn’t give up a walk and struck out one. Rowland was throwing his sinker a lot, sitting 88-90 MPH.
**Joely Rodriguez started for the extended Spring Training team. Rodriguez went five shutout innings, allowing three hits. He struck out five and didn’t walk any. That last part is encouraging. He was 87-91 MPH with his two-seam fastball, 82-84 with his changeup, and 80-83 with his slider. All three pitches have a lot of movement. In the past, Rodriguez has dealt with control problems. He’s a sleeper pitcher to watch, with a good three pitch mix.
**I’m pretty sure the West Virginia squad was playing the Yankees high-A team, while the extended group was playing low-A. So the pitchers were at the correct levels, and the hitters were playing up a level.
**I got an update on Diego Moreno, who hasn’t been heard from since being traded to the Yankees for A.J. Burnett. He was out last year with an arm injury, and is still rehabbing. He should get back into game action soon.