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Notes and News at Pirates Summer Camp

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Somehow this picture didn’t surprise me at all.
Trevor Williams/Twitter @MeLlamoTrevor

It’s hard to report news when there isn’t any, at least anything that’s not Big Plague-involved. Fortunately for all of us, the Pirates’ training camp—or, as Trevor Williams dressed for and referred to it, summer camp, is in as full swing as it can get.

Speaking of Williams, he pitched a five-inning simulated game on Saturday and was pretty stoked about how it went:

“I had more pep in my step today. My fastball was coming out a little hotter. It’s like that first live [BP] in Spring Training, except amplified more because we’re really gearing up for a season and we spent so much time away from each other, and now we’re at our home park doing it.”

Joe Musgrove, who looks like he’ll be the number one starter this season, also pitched five innings on Friday, noting that his workouts during downtime have had a noticeable—and positive—effect on his stamina. Mitch Keller pitched three innings on Sunday and credited new Bucs pitching coach Oscar Marin (who also worked with Williams during the break) for explaining how the Raspodo tracking program could help him tighten his fastball’s spin, and he continues to experiment with developing an offspeed pitch. As of right now, the Pirates’ starting rotation looks to be Musgrove, Williams, Keller, Derek Holland and Steven Brault, although the order of the last three is far from set. The only news about relievers is that Chad Kuhl seems to be at full force after his Tommy John surgery last year and, according to catcher Jacob Stallings, is throwing “some filthy stuff.”

Pirates manager Derek Shelton spoke highly of Stallings’s work ethic over the break, noting that the catcher’s “receiving really stands out.” The catcher position has been a Bucs problem area for a while, and with only three catchers at summer camp—Stallings, Luke Maille and John Ryan Murphy—at this point it’s basically Stallings’s job to lose.

It also appears that Shelton is sticking to his plan of cycling position and utility players through the designated hitter slot. Adam Frazier stated yesterday that he’d have “no problem” being in the DH rotation, and Shelton reiterated that the Pirates won’t depend on just one or two players to fill the role, looking at the situation as a way to rest everyday players.

Because of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfe’s new mandates on containing the current COVID-19 outbreak, no media has been allowed to watch practices in PNC Park. However, the Pirates’ website and Twitter feed has been excellent about providing pictures and commentary. Everyone looks to be in great shape and excited to get the season going—even if MLB Network forgot to broadcast the Pirates’ schedule. Oops.