BRADENTON, Fla. -- Many have already begun to talk about the trio collectively, so it seemed only fitting that Pirates pitching prospects Jameson Taillon, Stetson Allie and Luis Heredia made their way out to watch Major League camp on Friday side by side.
The trio stopped to pose for photos together, and there is an expectation that they will someday be smiling for the same shot with one another at PNC Park. Widely considered the top three pitching prospects in the organization, Taillon, Allie and Heredia all signed with the club within a week last August. The Pirates spent more than $11 million to ink them.
They are all in Bradenton now to prepare for their first Minor League Spring Training, which begins in full on March 7. The three pitchers will take part in workouts before then as a part of an invitation-only early camp.
Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft and the most advanced of these three young arms, is on track to begin the season with low-A West Virginia. It's an unusual jump for a recent high school graduate to make without ever having played professionally, but the Pirates believe Taillon is advanced enough for the challenge.
"Any time you talk about sending a high school kid to a full-season club right out of the Draft, it's a challenge no matter how talented you are or how mature you are," said Kyle Stark, the Pirates' director of player development.
The one thing that could change Taillon's placement, Stark cautioned, would be the weather. The Pirates will not send the 19-year-old right-hander up north if it is snowing or too cold in early April.
Olsen out at least week with hamstring strain
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates left-hander Scott Olsen has been diagnosed with a mild left hamstring strain and is likely to sit out from workouts for at least a week.
Olsen hobbled off the field on Thursday after tweaking his hamstring during a fielding drill. The Pirates' medical staff will reevaluate the pitcher daily, and the club said it expects to update his condition in approximately one week.
Olsen was already being brought along a bit slower than the rest of the pitchers in camp as a precaution for his left shoulder, which has given him problems the past two seasons. How this new injury might affect Olsen's ability to compete for a rotation spot is something that manager Clint Hurdle did not want to speculate on when asked Friday.
"We're going to take it a day at a time," Hurdle said. "A week lost is a week lost. We'll see how he feels when he is able to come back and where we go from there. There are no more concerns other than the fact that there is going to be a time where he is not going to be involved."
Olsen, who signed as a free agent in December, came to Spring Training hoping to make a push for the team's last vacant rotation spot. He and Charlie Morton were seen as the favorites for that fifth spot, though Morton could now have the inside track.
One thing that won't factor into the Pirates' decision making, Hurdle said, is the number of right-handers and left-handers in the five-man rotation. If Morton gets that fifth spot, Paul Maholm would be the rotation's only lefty starter.
"We're looking for starters that can get outs and that can pitch deep in games," Hurdle said. "I have had teams that had them and I have had teams that haven't. You go with your best five guys and you see where that takes you. We've got a number of people to look at."
Other rotation candidates include Brad Lincoln, Daniel McCutchen, Brian Burres and Jeff Karstens. Of this group, only Burres is a lefty.
Beimel proud to sport high number
BRADENTON, Fla. -- It's an unspoken, but understood, tradition each spring that the young players in camp -- those not expected to start the year on the big league squad -- end up with the jersey numbers that belong on football's wide receivers, tight ends and linemen.
Earning a lower number is a rite of passage, a privilege given once a player has established himself in the Majors. Unless, of course, you're Joe Beimel.
Beimel, who has been in the Majors since 2001, is wearing No. 97 this spring. And he will keep those digits all season. He explained on Friday that he has been wearing the number since 2005 as a tribute to his son, Andrew, who was born in 1997.
Interestingly enough, Beimel first planned to wear the number in 2004, but he was released by the Pirates at the end of camp. Since then, Beimel has worn No. 97 for the Rays, Dodgers, Nationals and Rockies.
Speaking of uniform numbers, Ronny Cedeno sported a new one as he took the field for the first time on Friday. Cedeno relinquished No. 13 to manager Clint Hurdle and took on No. 5 -- a number Cedeno once wore with the Cubs -- as a replacement.
Cedeno told Hurdle during an offseason telephone conversation that he would gladly give over the number.
"I said, 'You're making good decisions already,'" joked Hurdle.
BRADENTON, Fla. -- All 62 players had reported to Pirates camp by Friday morning, one day before the team's first scheduled full-squad workout. Ronny Cedeno and Brian Friday were the final two position players to arrive. Jose Ascanio, who was held up in Venezuela with visa issues, also made it in, and he threw his first side session of the spring. ... Lefty Donnie Veal, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, also threw off the mound on Friday. The rest of the pitchers had the day off from throwing. Half of them will be throwing their first rounds of live batting practice on Saturday. ... After working at first base for the first few days of camp, Steve Pearce joined the outfielders for fielding drills on Friday. ... Position players wrapped up their workouts by practicing bunting and situational hitting. This continues to be a focus early for manager Clint Hurdle.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.