Yamaico talks — then ropes

Kristy Robinson (of Pirates Prospects) and I interviewed Yamaico Navarro a few minutes prior to Thursday’s game — then he went out and had three knocks against the Rays, including a home run, and drove in three runs.

The game ended with Navarro on deck, leaving us quite conflicted. We were concerned that if Navarro got up again and came through with a game-winner, he would insist on talking to us just prior to every game this season. And we’re busy people, people. … 

There isn’t anyone in the Pirates’ clubhouse who looks like a baseball player more than Matt Hague. …

Casey McGehee, who had been aware that I’ve been tracking those weird splits that had him hitless while playing first base, gave me a high-five as I walked into the clubhouse in the morning, exclaiming, “Twice on base while at first!” He’d walked in his first at-bat against Boston’s Jon Lester on Wednesday, and followed that with a roped single. …

If you can get to any Pirates game early — say, when the PNC Park gates open — do it! The Bucs are one of the few Major League teams which occasionally still take pre-game fielding. And there’s only one thing possibly more impressive than Major Leaguers taking infield — that would be the Cirque du Soleil people taking infield. That’s not gonna happen, so this is as good as it gets. … 

Baby steps out of the shadows: Andrew McCutchen’s part in the new MLB ad campaign for the onrushing season is a start. He shares the 29-second spot with the likes of Justin Verlander, Matt Kemp, Evan Longoria and Jose Bautista. … 

One of the reasons any season-opening decision on Pedro Alvarez will be tough is: He is a terrific defensive third baseman, and that itself figures to be very important to the still-mostly pitch-to-contact rotation. He may not look it — but Alvarez is as good at charging a roller and making the barehanded pick-and-throw as anyone I’ve seen. And his arm is very accurate. … 



no doubt pedro worked hard off season to be physically ready for spring. he must have improved his defense. its a shame he chose not to play fall ball. cause he looks like a deer frozen in the headlights, at the plate. he needs to swing at the first pitch and not swing at the balls in the dirt.

How does Hague look defensively at third? It’s looking like Pedro could start at AAA and McGhee is coming off a season where he was only marginally better than Pedro, and McGhee played in a stacked lineup. Is Hague strong enough at third to play there regularly if he is the best option? Is that being considered?

What instruction is Pedro getting at the plate? I’d like to know more about the steps being taken to help him out. I’ve been reading generalized statements about his development (or lack thereof) for 2 years. Surely the hitting coach should be able to diagnose and address problem areas specificially. Maybe Pedro is not receptive to instruction. Any thoughts? I may miss out on some of this info since I live in Atlanta…

you really haven’t watched him play defense much then…what a butcher…its why they talk about moving him to first base in the near future.

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