Originally written on Pirates Prospects  |  Last updated 1/8/13
A few links to check out this morning. Kyle McPherson will be ready for Spring Training. **Rob Biertempfel spoke with Kyle McPherson, and notes that the right-hander will be ready for Spring Training. McPherson made one start in the Dominican Winter Leagues, then was removed due to shoulder tendonitis. It was the second time that a shoulder issue held the right-hander out of action in the last year. He had another shoulder problem during Spring Training, and didn’t make his 2012 debut until June. McPherson and Jeff Locke are the top candidates for the fifth spot in the Pirates’ rotation. **Also in that link, Biertempfel notes that Jameson Taillon will start off in Double-A. That’s not a big surprise, since he finished the 2012 season at the level, but only made three starts. Taillon struggled in Bradenton, but turned his game around at the end of the season. That earned him a promotion to Altoona, where he looked dominant in his three outings. His progression in 2013 will be an interesting story to track. If he can carry over his performance from the end of the year, he might not be in Altoona for long. In a best case scenario I could see him arriving in Pittsburgh by the end of the season. A more conservative path has him arriving in 2014. **Tom Singer wrote about Kris Johnson, who is having a good season in the Dominican Winter Leagues. I was asked over the weekend in an e-mail whether Johnson could emerge as a starting candidate in the second half. My response was that it’s highly unlikely. By mid-season the Pirates will have the following as starting options. A.J. Burnett Wandy Rodriguez James McDonald Francisco Liriano Jeff Locke Kyle McPherson Charlie Morton Gerrit Cole Other options by that point could include Phil Irwin, Justin Wilson, and then some of the depth options like Vin Mazzaro, Zach Stewart, and Andrew Oliver (assuming he’s used as a starter). I don’t think Johnson would crack my top 15 for starting candidates. His chances as a left-handed reliever are totally different. The competition isn’t as strong in that area, and Clint Hurdle tends to prefer multiple left-handers in the bullpen. Tony Watson is the only left-hander who has a spot locked down. After Watson the Pirates could go with one of Justin Wilson or Andrew Oliver, who are both on the 40-man roster. Johnson is one of two non-roster invitees at the moment, with Mike Zagurski being the other option. If you’re just going with the best possible relievers, I’d go with one left-hander and choose from the list of right-handed options. If you’re committed to two left-handers, then Johnson has a shot at making the majors this year as a lefty reliever. However, I still think he’s behind Wilson and Oliver on the depth charts. **MiLB.com has a Q&A with Gerrit Cole.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Kobe Bryant: ‘I Was An Idiot When I Was A Kid’

Anthony Davis wants gold medal more than NBA MVP

Report: Ronda Rousey’s last fight topped 900,000 PPV buys

Rose issues statement denying sexual assault allegations

Giants’ rookie Tomlinson blasts a grand slam for first MLB home run

Coughlin treats training camp-weary Giants to ‘spa day’

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Wilson: Comments about miracle water ‘perceived wrong’

Ryan Mallett missed Texans practice after oversleeping

Report: Barry Bonds loses collusion case

Martavis Bryant reportedly failed multiple marijuana tests

Mortensen: Krafts called me to apologize amid Deflategate drama

Packers smart to sit Aaron Rodgers for rest of preseason

Is it safe to say Justin Verlander is officially back?

Melvin Upton Jr. channels Willie Mays with catch

John Elway talks up Colin Kaepernick: ‘I’ve always liked Colin’

Enrique Hernandez falls down trying to hit Aroldis Chapman pitch

How the Chicago Cubs are swinging

WATCH: McElwain surprises six players with scholarships

LeBron James gives shout out to writer recovering from surgery

Frank Gore calls Andrew Luck ‘football God’

Eddie Royal joins the list of injured Bears receivers

Terry Stotts, Damian Lillard and the shapeless Trail Blazers

Jim Harbaugh thought phone call from Michael Jordan was a prank

The Buffalo Sabres have a 96% season ticket renewal rate

Karl-Anthony Towns is perfect for today's NBA

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

How the Chicago Cubs are swinging

Report: Barry Bonds loses collusion case

Packers smart to sit Rodgers for rest of preseason

Towns is perfect for today's NBA

The Opening Drive: Utah alum Jordan Gross is fed up with the HarBros

Five greatest NBAers without a ring

Exactly how bad is the NL East?

Five potential college football Week 1 shockers

Top 10 storylines for Week 3 of the NFL preseason

Wilson’s ‘Recovery Water’ plug sends the wrong message

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker