BRADENTON, Fla. – The Pirates started their minor league Spring Training schedule today, going up against the farm teams from the Atlanta Braves. That’s a change of pace from previous years, where they have only played the Yankees, Phillies, and Blue Jays. They will still play those teams this spring, but the Braves have been added to the mix.
The two A-ball teams were home today, with the Indianapolis and Altoona teams on the road. Don’t read too much into those designations, as the rosters are far from set right now. You typically have guys playing a level higher than where they will start the season, with most of the Indianapolis roster being made up of guys who will be in Altoona this year, and so on, to the point where the West Virginia team is made up of extended Spring Training guys.
Sherten Apostel is one of the players who was in the game for the lowest A-ball team, and he left early in the game with a hamstring injury. Apostel slid into third base going from first to third on a hit, then stood up, and needed a trainer. He was removed from the game, needing help limping off the field while holding the back of his right leg. He was then carted back to the clubhouse with the trainers.
Apostel was up walking on his own in the clubhouse after the game, and said that his leg was feeling better. It’s unclear at the moment the extent of the issue, although that should be revealed in the upcoming week by whether he plays.
Apostel’s real season doesn’t start until mid-June, so if he is injured, he won’t be missing much, outside of some potential development time in extended Spring Training. Because of that, the Pirates could take it slow with him and be cautious to avoid a bigger injury. We’ll provide any updates going further if we hear anything on his status.
Pirate City Notes
The A-ball teams were playing today, with Sergio Cubilete pitching two innings in the lower level game, and Domingo Robles and Adam Oller each going two innings in the upper level game. Robles should be a starter for West Virginia this year, while Oller could pitch in long relief for either A-ball team.
**Cubilete could either be a starter or a long reliever in West Virginia. He had a good outing today, sitting 89-93 MPH, and throwing two innings with one hit and two strikeouts, while consistently getting ahead of hitters.
**Recent international signing Fabricio Macias was playing center field, and showed off some nice range.
**The team that looked like the West Virginia roster included Lolo Sanchez in center field, Calvin Mitchell in left field, Mason Martin at first base, Dylan Busby at third base, and Rodolfo Castro at second base. Sanchez, Mitchell, and Busby all had hits that I saw today.
Pirates Sign a New International Player
By John Dreker
The Pittsburgh Pirates signed their 57th international free agent since July 2nd on Monday. Right-handed pitcher Carlos Campos is a 16-year-old from Venezuela, who went to the Geno Baseball Academy in Venezuela. He actually agreed to his deal last week, but it wasn’t official until Monday. He was signed at the same time as Miguel Diaz, another 16-year-old Venezuelan right-hander who also attended the Geno Academy. Campos had a tryout for the Colorado Rockies last week, which had a positive report, including a fastball that hit 90 MPH. The Pirates saw him (and Diaz) three days later and didn’t give the Rockies much time to think about signing Campos, agreeing to a deal that day.