Arrival Day At Pirate City

Pitchers and Catchers Are Joined By Some Position Players

Eric Hagman
February 11, 2019 - 3:14 pm

Eric Hagman 93.7 The Fan

Bradenton (93.7 The Fan) - Pirate City, the ball club's state-of-the-art training complex in Bradenton, was bustling with all kinds of activity on Monday, as pitchers and catchers reported for the start of spring training.  They were joined by a handful of position players, one rehabbing from a major injury.  And a country music legend dressed in full uniform.

Starting pitchers Chris Archer and Joe Musgrove, both coming off surgeries, spoke confidantly about being ready for the start of the season.  Archer underwent hernia surgery in November.  

"We're going to start slow and not rush into anything," Archer said.  "By the first week of the season, I'll be ready to throw over 100 pitches."

Musgrove underwent abdominal surgery in October to address an issue that bothered him late in the season.  

"I feel like I'm right where I should be," said Musgrove.  He said he will be monitored daily, combining a good amount of work with rest.

The Pirates newest (oldest) pitcher also was on hand.  35 year-old Francisco Liriano, recently signed to a minor league contract, occupied his former locker space among the veteran and rookie pitchers alike.  

"I have good memories here, and I'm going to try to have a good time here," said Liriano, who chose the Pirates over some other minor league offers.

He said the plan is to work as both a starter and reliever during the spring.

Among the position players working out were 3rd baseman Jung Ho Kang and outfielders Corey Dickerson and Gregory Polanco.

When Polanco underwent major surgery on his left shoulder last September, the Pirates announced he faced a seven-to-nine month recovery.  After throwing  from about 75 feet, he said he has no pain and believes he will be ready to return by late April or early May.

The Pirates also made official the signing of outfielder Melky Cabrera to a minor league contract.  He will be in the major league camp.

And then there was Garth Brooks.  The 57-year-old singer is spending time with the Pirates to commemorate the 20th anniversary of his Teammates for Kids Foundation.  It has raised more than $100 million for children charities.  Brooks said, "other than the day I married my wife and I had my three girls, this is the most important thing in my life."   He said he began following the Pirates because of Roberto Clemente.  Brooks previously went to spring training with the Padres in 1989, the Mets in 2000 and the Royals in 2004.

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