BRADENTON, Fla. — Ivan Nova is “good to go.”

That’s what he said after his four-inning outing at LECOM Park against Minnesota on Monday. Nova allowed three hits and one run — a Miguel Sano home run — while striking out six Twins.

The Sano home run came on a hanging curveball that was the only blip on an otherwise sparkling outing.

“He used his pitches very effectively tonight, changing speeds, burying the breaking ball with the exception of the one he left up,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Using the two-seamer in, the come-backer to left-handers over the inside part of the plate. He’s a pro with a slow heartbeat.”

Catcher Jacob Stallings said that he barely had to move his glove. Nova used a lot of breaking balls, including throwing three straight curves to Sano. He said that was the plan going into the start.

“A lot of times, we do get quick outs with the sinkers,” Nova said. “In spring training, you want to make sure you get everything working. It’s not quick outs with sinker, sinker, sinker. I want to be able to throw my sinker to both sides of the plate, my curveball for a strike when I need to and I also threw the changeup. All in all, it was a good workout.”

Nova also put down a bunt in his first at-bat. That’s something he’s been attempting to improve upon this spring after spending most of his career in the American League.

“He’s been working hard on his bunting and his swinging,” Hurdle said. “He didn’t get to do a lot of that in the American League. He gets a bunt down today and comes back with a smile on.”

FRAZIER UP TOP

Adam Frazier went 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs. He’s now hitting .400 this spring and he’s hitting leadoff again on Tuesday against the Red Sox. Hurdle said that’s where he’ll be slotted in the batting order when he’s in the lineup this season, but wouldn’t commit to how often that will be.

“We’ll definitely have him in the lineup, when he’s playing, up top,” Hurdle said. “I haven’t hit him anywhere but leadoff this spring.”

WEBB GEM

Rule 5 draftee Tyler Webb threw three innings of one-hit ball with four strikeouts. Two things stood out about his performance — the length and the fact that he was equally effective against right-handers and left-handers.

“I love the way he’s shown up and competed,” Hurdle said. “He’s a guy that has no major league experience. He’s done all his pitching in the minor leagues. Tonight I thought was the best stuff we’ve seen from him all spring. … Our guys that do our analytic work liked him coming in and tonight, I think he got the attention of some people that thought he was just here on a whim. He did some pitching tonight.”

Webb’s performance puts some pressure on the bullpen decision, but fellow lefty Wade LeBlanc has also been pitching well. I asked Webb what he thought about the Pirates potentially swinging a trade to keep him around if he can’t make the 25-man roster.

“I wouldn’t oppose it at all,” he said. “I’m kind of in between two very good organizations. I’m just going to try to pitch as well as I can and worry about that stuff when it comes, but I’m in a pretty good spot.”

NOVA NO-GO

Nova will not make the trip to Montreal, instead meeting the team in Boston in order to stay in Florida and throw in a game at Pirate City on Sunday. Drew Hutchison will pitch Tuesday night at LECOM Park. Gerrit Cole will pitch there Wednesday afternoon in an abbreviated outing.

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43 COMMENTS

  1. Not sold on Frazier but the bat seems to be legit. To bad he can not field well enough at a position to become a regular. I am a Hanson fan but could see Frazier at 2b with Jhay at 3b on a regular basis some time this year.

    • He’s not a good second baseman, but he’s fine enough there to justify the bat, I think. Because the bat is really incredible.

      • LLOYD loves Frazier’s bat as well. On our low def TV it looks like a 33″ maple. Can anyone confirm?

      • I do not know to what you are referring but, in this age of the internet, everything is quick and dirty and lacks syntax. Foo and da Wabbit come from a different time, when grammarians were famous and had body guards.

        Maybe the offender meant he threw “through” three innings…

        Maybe he was strangling his syntax to say he had a thorough three innings.

        These days… we may never know…

        -BB

  2. Watched this game on Root Sports tonight.
    Was very happy with Nova and Webb. Both superb. And Webb is doing this with craft. He can maybe touch 91 mph, but he seems to have some kind of deception going on. Good command.

    It does look a bit like the Bucs are going to be going with a team of Super Utility Men and this does not bother me right now.

    Osuna is for real. I’ve been saying it for two years. But I think it is better if he returns to AAA and keeps working day in and day out. His chance will come somehow. You don’t let that bat go.

    Frazier looked good too. I did not know this but last year he batted .320 to lead the majors in hitting with two strikes.

    If the starting pitching works out and I think there is reason to believe it will be a strong rotation… then I think this is going to be an interesting year in the Burgh.

    -Wabbit

  3. Since so many people on this site cannot handle any criticism of the FO and their questionable decision-making, I do have to occasionally take the time to also acknowledge when the Pirates FO makes a good decision….

    When the Pirates traded for Nova, I was very vocal in my criticism of the trade – primarily because it appeared that we gave up two decent prospects for a two month rental – when the Pirates really had no chance of getting into the playoffs. I just did not believe the Pirates would re-sign Nova and make this more than a trade for a rental. Well, they did end up re-signing him – for that, I have to applaud them. I am still a little leary of Nova’s ability to be an effective and reliable starter over the course of an entire season – as he’s never done that before – but, I will give him the benefit of the doubt and see how the season progresses. Maybe he just needed to get out of that bandbox called Yankee Stadium, where routine fly balls can become HRs….

    • I wasn’t sure about the Nova trade, because I also thought he was no more than a rental. Even when he said he loved it in Pittsburgh and wanted to stay, I thought that was just what he thought he should say. When he signed with the Pirates, on the terms he signed, he won me over. He is a good dude, that I honestly believe, will bigly outperform his contract.

    • With the departure of Bruce Humbert from comments, you are now officially the biggest whiner here. Bruce even had some good points. You ??? Never.

  4. Ok, LLOYD will take another stab at opening day 25 with all of his new info from the last 48 hours:
    1. Frazier 2B (L)
    2. J-Hay 3B
    3. Cutch RF
    4. Polanco LF (L)
    5. Marte CF
    6. Bell 1B (S)
    7. Cervelli C
    8. Mercer SS
    1. Stewy C
    2. Jaso 1B/3B/OF (L)
    3. Freese 3B/1B
    4. Gosselin IF
    5. Hanson IF/OF (S)
    1. Cole
    2. Tallion
    3. Nova
    4. Kuhl
    5. Hutch
    1. Watson (L)
    2. Hudson
    3. Rivero (L)
    4. Nicasio
    5. Hughes
    6. LeBlanc (L)
    7. Webb (L)
    Notes:
    A. Kang and Osuna potential power upgrades…..Osuna will benefit from a month or two of AAA AB’s
    B. Bastardo needs traded asap. If he can’t be traded for a lottery ticket with the Buccos eating half of his remaining salary then the Bucs may need to trade for Webb and sticking him in AAA for a bit
    C. Williams and Brault ready to replace Hutch on a moments notice
    D. Glasnow is without question the best 5th starter option right now for 3/4 innings and he has the best upside. But no damn way without him dominating at this point should our beloved Buccos bring him up to the bigs before the extra year of control and Super-2 have passed. He isn’t dominating for the next 3 months. In 4-7 years its probable that he is a very good MLB starter and may dominate. Don’t Free Glassnow!!!!!
    LLOYD

    • What has Hutchison done to deserve the #5 starter spot, over Brault and Williams – let alone Glasnow?

      If Stewart, Jaso, Hughes, and Hutchison could be replaced with Diaz, Osuna, Williams, and Glasnow, I’d be convinced the Pirates FO really does want to field the best team they can and want to actually challenge the Cubs this year…

      If the Pirates weren’t so cheap, they’d do the right thing and just release Bastardo and Stewart. No one will trade anything of any value for either of them….

      • The Pirates are not going to challenge the Cubs this year. Unless the Cubs run into a slew of injuries. While we are on the subject, the Pirates will not challenge the Nats, Dodgers nor possibly the Giants. It will probably come down to the Pirates, Cards, and Mets for the 2nd wildcard.

        • You don’t know what injuries will do, could help or hurt. If Kang comes back by J I NE he could have a big impact. Too early to give up on the season, we haven’t finished Spring Training. Not that it means much at all, but the Pirates Spring Training W/L record isn’t shabby.

          • I haven’t given up on the season, but simply being realistic. The Cubs, Dodgers and Nats clearly have more talent than the Pirates.

      • Bucco Fan Stuck in Mud, LLOYD nor anyone else cares if you are “convinced” of what the FO wants to do. LLOYD will touch on some of your well thought out points though:
        1. Hutch hasn’t done a damn thing to “deserve” the 5th spot. In LLOYD’s opinion, his experience in the bandboxes of the AL East may translate to a little better results for our Buccos and that MLB experience may be valuable over Brault and Williams. As for Glasnow, refer to D., above.
        2. Cheap on Stewy and Bastardo? Why would keeping them be considered cheap when their replacements if cut would amount to less than $1.2M salary increase??
        3. Stewy is a fine backup and Diaz is getting 5 starts/week in AAA to start the season
        4. ILOI…(In LLOYD’s Honest Opinion), Osuna will be better off getting regular AB’s in AAA for awhile instead of maybe 10 a week in MLB…+Jaso may surprise you this year my friend
        5. Williams?? Maybe…..Maybe not. We shall see!!
        LLOYD

      • Fine with that brother…..
        LLOYD just thinks that Brault can still develop with afew starts in AAA and Hutch may show that his MLB experience in the AL East may show more this season. Either way, good…..

    • I like Frazier, but I think they’ll go Freese at 3B and J-Hay at 2B for the opener. Hurdle loves him some veterans.

    • Super Two is the “money/arbitration” issue not the extra year of control. I believe that Glasnow already accrued two months in 2016, so:

      1. They would need to keep him down until almost September to consider his combined 2016/17 time to be less than the Super Two cut off. That would mean his arbitration clock would start 2021 through 2023, and he would be a free agent after 2023.
      2. Keeping him down until sometime in June would mean (I think) he would now be Super Two in 2020 and in arbitration an extra year for 2020 through 2023 and again be a free agent after 2023
      3. Bringing him up earlier than June would mean starting arbitration in 2020 through 2022 and being a free agent after 2022.

    • Not bad at all, but I wouldn’t count on Kang for anything, and Hutchison has shown nothing. Hughes hasn’t exactly earned his spot either.

    • LBF ~ You rocked this puppy; I’m on board with your 25, and especially so with the line-up. I like the speed at the top and then Cutch, Starling, Greggory and Bell

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