-P- Andy LaRoche credits Bucs hitting coach Don Long with suggesting adjustments that have led to LaRoche's mini-breakout.
The change was simple. LaRoche's urgency to try steal a hit -- he started the season 1-for-20 -- inadvertently caused his upper body to begin rotating too far toward right-center field. That closed LaRoche off from being able to hit inside pitches, and opposing pitchers took full advantage.
Already now we've seen Pirates coaches credited for improvements in LaRoche's hitting and also his fielding. I hope the coaching staff has made Andy their top priority, because it sounds like he needs to have his hand held through everything. I don't mean to infantilize him, but already he's needed help to fix hitting and fielding that had been awful, and this offseason when he didn't have supervision, he was supposed to do back exercises and he didn't do them, leading to problems with his back in Spring Training.
-P- After a homer, a single and a walk yesterday, Pedro Alvarez is now hitting .250 AVG / .375 OBP / .528 SLG.
-P- Daniel Haigwood, the former Red Sox minor league pitcher who was in camp with the Pirates this year, has signed with the independent Winnipeg Goldeyes.
-P- And speaking of Indianapolis, David Letterman was at the game there on Friday.
-P- The Bucs rank 20th on ESPN.com's Power Rankings, ahead of the A's, Angels, Indians and Diamondbacks. Hey, it's early.