Day 6: Marte, McCutchen, Polanco — it’s going to be a GAS
Charles Dickens had his “Great Expectations.” So do the Pirates. They will soon fill up their outfield with GAS (Gregory, Andrew, Starling).
“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen three burners in one outfield,” said manager Clint Hurdle, anticipating that down-the-road union as much as are fans and media.
Fans and media can’t wait. That threesome was the obvious main attraction Tuesday during the Bucs’ first full-squad workout of Spring Training. Inasmuch as this is Polanco’s first big league camp, the three were on the same field for the first time ever, making it a potentially memorable occasion.
Whether loosening up in the outfield, taking their cuts in the cage or shagging, McCutchen, Marte and Polanco got both amateur and professional photographers snapping.
Polanco is known for getting down the first base line in no time, but his home runs take even less to clear the fence. He pulled several balls out of Pirate City’s No. 1 field, all line drives that disappeared in a hurry.
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McCutchen’s big Spring Training project a year ago was improving his baserunning. He has not revealed Project 2014 but, after one batting practice session, let me hazard a guess: Power?
Cutch drilled ball after ball onto the roof of the indoor workout facility beyond the left-field fence of Field No. 1.
Hitting with more power would be a sensible goal, since McCutchen did drill 31 homers in 2012 but that total declined to 21 in his MVP season of 2013.
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An elderly fan stood silently behind one of the ropes separating Pirate City’s public quad from the workout fields, holding a sign that simply said in large colorful letters: “THANK YOU.”
“Isn’t it obvious?” the gent asked rhetorically. “It’s for the championship season of last year.”
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Travis Snider will do little more than shag during batting practice for a few days, limited by a three-stitch cut on a left finger suffered while chopping a sweet potato.
That’s right. Baseball’s eminent cook and food lover was knocked out by a potato. Contract clauses mandating that players stay off motorcycles are quite common. Snider’s next contract may require him to stay out of the kitchen.