Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 3/17/13
Some quick Bucs notes from the past week: World Baseball Classic: Jason Grilli did not make an appearance in the second round, as Team Italy foolishly failed to use him while blowing two late leads to get knocked out of the tournament. The Italians tried waiting until the ninth to use their closer, but lost the lead before the ninth against both the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Grilli was understandably disappointed but said all the right things. He should get used to it, because Clint Hurdle is sure to make the same mistake numerous times throughout the year). Anyway, Jason is now back in Pirates camp. Wandy Rodriguez made an excellent start on Sunday for the Dominican Republic. The Dominican team had already clinched a semifinal berth, but it was still an important game to determine seeding for this week’s final round. Wandy tossed six scoreless in a win against Puerto Rico, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out four. He won’t pitch for the rest of the tournament because it will be over by Tuesday. Cuts The Bucs have made their first set of cuts for the spring. There were no real surprises, but some of the notable names no longer in big-league camp include Jameson Taillon, Tony Sanchez, Jerry Sands, Clint Robinson, and Vic Black. Taillon will start in AA, while Sanchez will start in AAA. Hopefully both will force their way to promotions ASAP. Sands will also go to AAA, and he’ll need to prove that his strong minor league numbers from the hitter friendly parks out west weren’t a fluke. Travis Snider and Jose Tabata will battle it out for early playing time in Pittsburgh. Robinson and Black may have been fringe candidates to make the club, but it became evident early that they weren’t going to get much of a chance. Spring Training Games (yawn) The Bucs are 9-12 and have been playing lots of close, low-scoring games of late. That doesn’t really mean anything, but it would be nice to see the offense pick it up. Gerrit Cole has continued to pitch fairly well, which is encouraging. Phil Irwin has pitched extremely well and could be emerging as the dark horse to take the 5th rotation spot. Jeff Locke has scuffled a bit but hasn’t been too bad, while Kyle McPherson has been a bit better. Expect the rotation picture to get much clearer very soon, as we’re creeping up on Opening Day and spring rosters should start to shrink with the WBC wrapping up.
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