BRADENTON, Fla. – With a record of just 4-8-1 at this point of their Spring Training schedule, one might think the Pittsburgh Pirates are off to a rough start in 2016. The wins may not be there quite yet, but the numbers show Pittsburgh has plenty of players putting in good work early on this spring.
The Pirates are hitting .278 (121-for-435) thus far, which is good for right around the middle of the league (12th), so there have been some up and down results at the plate:
- C Elias Diaz: After collecting four hits in his first week of Spring Training, Diaz went 4-for-11 this week, including a two-run home run on March 13.
- 2B Alen Hanson: Hanson is up to seven hits this spring after recording three more base knocks this week. He is second only to Harold Ramirez, who has ten hits thus far, for the team lead.
- OF Willy Garcia: Garcia has just three hits in 18 at-bats, but two of his three hits have gone for two bases. He is tied for second in doubles on the team only trailing Josh Harrison and Michael Morse, who each have three apiece.
- SS Gift Ngoepe: After beginning 0-for-9 at the dish, Ngoepe notched a game-winning RBI single on March 11 for his first hit of the spring.
On the mound, some of the Pirates’ best young pitchers continue to get some reps in before the regular season begins:
- SP Chad Kuhl: Kuhl has made it into two games for the Pirates thus far, pitching a total of three innings. After giving up a run on three hits on March 5 against the Atlanta Braves, he responded with a scoreless frame versus the Tampa Bay Rays on March 11.
- RP Eric O’Flaherty: The lefty, who was signed to a minor league contract by the Pirates in February, has posted a 2.25 ERA through four appearances. Since giving up five runs (one earned) on March 2, O’Flaherty has tossed three scoreless frames.
- SP Jameson Taillon: The right-hander made his second appearance of the spring on March 10, as he surrendered one run on four hits in two innings pitched against the Rays.
- RP John Holdzkom: Holdzkom continues to bounce back following a tough three-run outing in his first appearance of the year on March 3. This week the righty tossed a pair scoreless innings, first on March 9 against the Boston Red Sox and then on March 12 against the Detroit Tigers.
On Monday, it was announced that Taillon and fellow top pitching prospect Tyler Glasnow were optioned to the Indianapolis Indians and will start the regular season at the Triple-A level.