Dejan Kovacevic returns to spring training, and immediately sheds some light on the roster situation. He has Ryan Doumit, Doug Mientkiewicz, Chris Gomez, Luis Rivas and Nyjer Morgan on the bench, with Nate McLouth starting in center. Josh Wilson would be added to the roster if Freddy Sanchez begins the season on the disabled list.
The bulk of the article discusses the bullpen. Matt Capps, John Grabow, Damaso Marte and Franquelis Osoria appear to be locks. Dejan speculates that Sean Burnett and Phil Dumatrait will also make the team. Burnett has been spectacular this spring and Dumatrait, who is out of options, has also been sharp.
That leaves one spot for either Evan Meek or Byung-Hyun Kim. I would be hesitant to discard Meek, as he looks like a decent Rule 5 addition and would be lost if he does not make the roster. While I hesitate to evaluate Kim based solely on his spring stats (he got a late start to the spring and, remember, spring stats mean absolutely nothing), I cannot see keeping him over a semi-prospect in Meek. Kim would receive a much higher salary, and he has had very little success for several years. If the Pirates cut Kim by Wednesday, they are only required to pay him $300,000. I say Meek gets that last roster spot.
Buried in this article is the fact that Jonah Bayliss is out of options and unlikely to make the team, meaning he could be out of the organization. This is insignificant and expected, but it triggered something in my head. Expect a separate post about that within the next couple of days.
Perez may have surgery
Reliever Juan Perez, who spent a brief time with the Pirates last season before returning to Triple-A, may be facing Tommy John surgery. He will attempt to let it heal with rest before seeking surgery. He will open the season on the 60-day disabled list, opening a spot on the 40-man roster. Burnett could fill that spot if he makes the team. Perez did not have much of a future with the club, but you hate to see that happen to any player. Perez will turn 30 in September, and I wish him the best in his recovery.
This might be recycled news, or maybe I just already assumed it was fact before it was. The Pirates have set their starting rotation. Ian Snell, Tom Gorzelanny and Paul Maholm will pitch the opening series in Atlanta, and will be followed by Matt Morris and Zach Duke in Miami. Nothing unexpected there.
Freddy Sanchez will have his sore shoulder examined by Dr. James Andrews today. Results are expected on Tuesday…Nate McLouth remained out with strep throat. There is not timetable for his return…Adam LaRoche played yesterday after missing one game when he fouled a pitch off his shin…Chris Duffy continues to improve, as he threw from 90 feet. There remains a chance that he will be assigned to a minor league team when the season starts. There will be plenty of outfielders competing for playing time in Indianapolis.
Pirates at Rays
The Pirates travel to St. Petersburg today to take on the Rays at 1:05. Morris will make the start, with Grabow and Osoria also expected to take the mound. The Pirates have six games remaining on their Grapefruit League schedule. Opening day is one week away, with the Red Sox and A’s starting the MLB regular season today in Japan.