-P- Rob Biertempfel says that Joel Hanrahan, and not Evan Meek, is likely to be the Pirates' closer in 2011. That's fine with me - either would be fine from a performance perspective, but Hanrahan will become a free agent earlier (after 2013) and thus will probably be on the trade market earlier. I'd rather the Pirates be marketing a closer than merely a really good middle reliever.
Neal Huntington said last month that he wanted the Pirates to pick a closer by Spring Training, so unless Huntington has changed his mind, it seems like there should be a decision soon.
-P- Speaking of the start of Spring Training, Cesar Valdez, Jose Veras, and Jose Ascanio are the only pitchers or catchers who haven't reported yet.
-P- Here's a profile of new State College Spikes manager Dave Turgeon, who will be trying to learn everyone's name in these next couple of months.
After the struggles of the last two years that led Garrett Atkins to be dumped by Colorado and Baltimore, it is easy to overlook the fact he is only 31 and did drive in 421 runs from 2005-08. The Pirates give him a chance to resurrect his career, which would allow them to move Pedro Alvarez to first base and Garrett Jones to the outfield.
1. Jones is already in the outfield, because Lyle Overbay is the starting first baseman. 2. As far as I can tell, Atkins didn't play one game at third last year. There's practically no chance of him being the Pirates' starting third baseman. Do your homework, man.
-P- Former Pirates minor leaguer Dustin Molleken, who pitched with Altoona last year, has signed with the Rockies.
-P- Ian Snell on his time with the Pirates:
"I'm just trying to basically get back to where I was the first two years with Pittsburgh," he said. "That's when the pitching coach there was there for two years and not changing constantly. I kind of lost focus and, how do you say it, my confidence in a way, in Pittsburgh. I [went] to Seattle and I kind of got it back, and then lost it again. It's been tough. It's the game, you know?"