March 2, 2010

Time to play ball!

PITTSBURGH, Pa. / March 2, 2010

The Pirates finally start their Grapefruit League schedule Wednesday afternoon against the New York Yankees. Live from Legends Field in Tampa, the game will be shown on national TV on the MLB Network. And in the Pittsburgh area, the radio broadcast will be on 104.7.
Cy Maholm will pitch the first inning and Cy Ohlendorf will pitch the second inning for the Pirates. The Pirates haven't said which position players will travel, but with Thursday's game in Kissimmee I would expect to see the whole starting lineup make the much shorter trip to Tampa Wednesday.

Even in the spring there's a heightened excitement facing the Yankees, but don't look for the Bucs to show too much against their potential World Series opponent.

One position battle I'm watching is for the final roster spot or two - Brandon Moss vs. Delwyn Young vs. John Raynor. These battles are usually somewhat of a pointless crapfest since the loser goes to AAA and is back in May. But Young and Moss are out of options and Raynor is a Rule V pick - meaning that one or two of these guys could be out of the organization by Opening Day. All three should get a lot of playing time this spring, especially Raynor since he's new to the organization.

Jeff Clement is another guy who should play a lot. He has the bat to start in MLB, but even though he's the projected starter I don't think the Pirates are 100% sold on him at first base. If he can't field the position they'll move Garrett Jones back to first and start Ryan Church most days in the outfield.

34 days until the real Opening Day.

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