Spring Training is in full swing with opening day 17 days away. Already the Pirates have a big injury with Jarlin Garcia going down with some kind of unexplained arm injury where he cannot even grip the baseball. Who knows the outcome of this one. He would have been a big part of the bullpen. He had been a solid left hand bullpen guy with no history of arm issues in the past. His injury is not changing my mind about this team being a contender, but it is a blow, none the less. Ke’Bryan Hayes seems to be as fragile as ever, with now a thumb injury being the culprit, but until proven otherwise, I am going to remain optimistic about him and his ability to play a full season. I am not as confident, injury or no injury, that he will become an above average hitter. If he would, then that would be a great asset to add to his superb fielding. The only other thing of note, it does seem like Travis Swaggerty is making some noise this spring. This is a number 1 pick who has done nothing, up to this point, to warrant him playing in the majors. I think the Pirates missed a big opportunity last year in not bringing up for about 2 months, and showing what he could do. Even if Swaggerty continues to have a good spring, I doubt seriously he will beat out Canaan Smith-Njigba for a roster spot. If anything, because they are so thin at outfield, they may wind up keeping both of them. It will be interesting to see if he gets a legitimate shot. Even though the Pirates have given up a lot of runs this spring, the pitchers that you expect to be on the team are doing well. Most of the runs that are being given up are by pitchers that won’t be on the opening day roster. For the most part Spring Training is going well, especially for the starting pitchers.
The main purpose of Spring Training is to get ready for the regular season. It is to stay healthy and work on your game. Despite this, I still read things trying to put significance on spring training performances. They are absolutely 100% meaningless, with so many examples that I am not bothering to even write about them. What Travis Swaggerty is doing in these games I put no stock in. I will be happy to be wrong about this concerning him. The Pirates can always use a bat that is a decent fielder. I think the players are working nicely toward their goal of getting out of the gate well, with the intention of setting up a winning attitude for this team. I am making no real speculation on who is going to be on the opening day roster. We will know this soon enough and then I will give an opinion on how I feel about who is going up North. I will blog about the team a couple of days before opening day and then the Pirate Morning Report will start once again giving a synopsis of each game in a brief concise no holds barred format, sparing no punches. It will be a new year and thing, with the Pirates trying to win games for the first time in about 22 months.