Player News - Pirates

Date: Team: Pos:

Gerrit Cole has been announced as the Pirates' Opening Day starter.

He'll toe the rubber against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on April 3. This marks Cole's first career Opening Day start. Cole was an absolute stud in 2015 before injuries caused him to unravel last season. He's a strong bounce-back candidate.
Feb 25 - 4:30 PM

Gregory Polanco finished 3-for-3 with a pair of steals as the Pirates topped the Orioles 6-2 on Saturday.

Polanco opened last year looking like a possible top-20 fantasy outfielder. He couldn't maintain it, in part due to injury, but he has a good chance of getting there and staying there this year.
Feb 25 - 4:27 PM

Daniel Hudson, who is contending for the closing gig in Pittsburgh, allowed a run in his inning against the Orioles on Saturday.

He gave up two hits, walked one and struck out two. Ideally, Hudson would have a strong spring and open the season as the Pirates' closer, allowing the team to use Tony Watson in more of a matchup role. Still, it remains to be seen how that will work out.
Feb 25 - 4:23 PM

Steven Brault started versus the Orioles on Saturday, tossing one scoreless inning was the Pirates won 5-2.

He fanned one batter and didn't allow a hit or walk. The 24-year old saw major league time last season, delivering a 4.86 ERA in 33 1/3 innings. He is battling with Chad Kuhl and Drew Hutchison for the fifth slot in the Pirates rotation.
Feb 25 - 4:12 PM

Gerrit Cole is scheduled to throw two innings in a simulated game on Sunday.

If all goes well, he could then be cleared for his Grapefruit League debut later in the week. The club is easing him into action this spring in an effort to keep him healthy after three stints on the disabled list derailed his 2016 campaign.
Feb 25 - 8:02 AM

Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette passes along that Jason Stoffel (shoulder) is "expected to be cleared for bullpens shortly."

Stoffel is currently day-to-day with right shoulder discomfort. If he is to have any chance of landing a spot in the Pirates' Opening Day bullpen -- already a somewhat dubious proposition -- a rapid recovery will be paramount. Splitting time between Double- and Triple-A with the Orioles in 2016, the 28-year-old right-hander pitched to a 2.44 ERA with a 78/20 K/BB ratio over the course of 59 innings pitched. The Pirates signed him to a minor league contract at the end of November.
Feb 22 - 5:21 PM

Pirates trainer Todd Tomczyk said that Francisco Cervelli (foot) has been cleared for "modified baseball activities."

Cervelli felt discomfort in his right foot during a workout this past Sunday. While it doesn't appear to be serious, the Pirates would like to make sure that this won't be a lingering issue before they give him the all-clear to catch for Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic later this spring. Fair enough for the club to proceed with caution, here, as Cervelli hasn't exactly proven to be the most durable of players. Last season, he appeared in just 101 games due to injury concerns.
Feb 22 - 4:52 PM

The Pirates want to see Francisco Cervelli (foot) work out before giving him clearance to leave for the World Baseball Classic.

Cervelli felt some discomfort in his right foot during a team workout Sunday, but he's making progress. He's due to catch for Team Italy in the upcoming World Baseball Classic.
Feb 22 - 1:12 PM

Pirates head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk said Wednesday that Josh Bell (knee) is ahead of schedule and has been cleared for everything except for full-speed running.

Great news. Bell underwent knee surgery three weeks ago, but he already progressed to taking some swings against Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow on Tuesday. The Pirates will ease him back into running, but it shouldn't take him long to get ready for game action.
Feb 22 - 12:57 PM

Jung Ho Kang admitted to his DUI charge in a South Korea court on Wednesday.

Kang fled the scene after slamming into a guardrail on December 2 in Seoul, South Korea. It was his third DUI charge since 2009. "I deeply regret what I have done," Kang told Yonhap News. "If I can get one last chance, I will become an exemplary player to earn respect from everyone." According to Yonhap News, the court will hold a verdict hearing on March 3. It's unclear what the sentence might be or when he'll be able to rejoin the Pirates. He could also face a punishment from the Pirates, though he has agreed to enter an alcohol treatment program.
Feb 22 - 8:34 AM

Gerrit Cole threw two innings of live batting practice Tuesday at Pirates' camp.

Cole got a late start last spring due to a rib injury and ended up posting a career-high 3.88 ERA over 21 starts in between three stints on the disabled list, but he feels good this time around. "I've learned a lot and gotten more mental toughness," Cole said. "I've learned how to deal with some adversity, so hopefully I'm better for it." His stock has taken somewhat of a hit in fantasy leagues, but there's considerable upside if he has turned a corner physically.
Feb 21 - 3:55 PM

Josh Bell faced live pitching Tuesday for the first time since his knee surgery three weeks ago.

Bell took some swings against Jameson Taillon to test his knee. It's unclear when he'll be ready to make his spring debut, but he's obviously moving in the right direction. Barring any setbacks, he should be fine for the start of the regular season.
Feb 21 - 12:08 PM

Josh Bell (knee) participated in some light baserunning drills on Tuesday.

Bell underwent surgery about three weeks ago to remove a loose body from his left knee, but he's slowly beginning to ramp things up. He's also fielding grounders and hitting in the indoor batting cage. It's unclear when he'll be ready to hit on the field or face live pitching, but he's making encouraging progress.
Feb 21 - 10:56 AM

The Rangers held a tryout for free agent pitchers Justin Masterson, Kameron Loe, Blake Beavan and Kyle Drabek on Monday.

It's unclear whether the Rangers liked enough of what they saw to sign any of the hurlers. Masterson, who will turn 32 next month, has seen his velocity plummet in recent years and hasn't had any success in the majors since 2013.
Feb 20 - 4:25 PM

Josh Bell (knee) fielded grounders and hit in an indoor batting cage for the third straight day on Monday.

He hasn't taken swings on the field or faced live pitching yet, but Bell looks to be coming along nicely for a guy who's less than three weeks removed from left knee surgery. When he'll be ready for Grapefruit League action remains to be seen, but Bell has a good shot to be available for Opening Day.
Feb 20 - 4:17 PM


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