BRADENTON, Fla. -- Manager Clint Hurdle has been in Pirate City since early February. Most of the Pittsburgh players have also been here for more than a week.Until Friday, though, Spring Training merely consisted of specialized drills for peer player groups. But Friday, with the full squad officially on hand and an agenda that reflected that, brought something different. "We got to play some baseball," a beaming Hurdle said following the team's extended workout. "I thought the first day went well."
Full squad also meant Bill Mazeroski, Bill Virdon, Manny Sanguillen, Kent Tekulve and Steve Blass. Pirates history was in full uniform and on the field, lending their expertise as special instructors. Pirates club president Frank Coonelly briefly met with the full squad behind the doors of the clubhouse, apologizing for the drunk-driving incident of Dec. 22 for which he is facing four charges and pledging to be a better man because of it. Coonelly did not formally talk with the media, but spent the day freely chatting with fans as he roamed from field to field. First-base neophytes and hopefuls Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee went through their first extensive infield drills of the spring. First impressions: Jones can be challenged by bad hops, McGehee has a heckuva stretch for an erstwhile third baseman, both need lots of work on digging throws out of the dirt. Long way to go. Manager Clint Hurdle said there will be only one intrasquad game, prior to the Pirates' Grapefruit League opener March 3 in Dunedin against the Blue Jays. The Bucs' exhibition schedule still is a work in progress, as "B" games and games against college competition continue to be added before the final slate is announced.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.