Clint Hurdle named Francisco Liriano the Opening Day starter on Tuesday, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Liriano was the go-to guy all season last year and was hand picked to start the do-or-die Wild Card game, where he delivered a great outing. You could make an argument for Gerrit Cole, but he’ll probably get plenty of opportunities for that honor. Liriano is only under contract for 2014, while Cole will be around for quite a while.
As David Todd pointed out, Liriano will be the Pirates’ 12th different Opening Day starter in the PNC Park era (14 years). Zach Duke and Oliver Perez are the only ones that have done it twice. Obviously the Pirates had to go to a new one this year since A.J. Burnett was last year’s pick, and Liriano is a legit top of the rotation guy, but that’s a pretty jarring stat. Also, since 3 of the 4 Opening Day Duke and Perez starts were on the road, the first pitcher to make two Opening Day starts at PNC Park could be…Jeff Samardzija of the Cubs (if he is their choice – he might not be, though, as Travis Wood was their best pitcher last year).
The Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez, which will cost them their first round draft pick. The Pirates move up to #24 as a result.
Hurdle being Hurdle:
Hurdle on focusing on now: “If you’ve got a foot in yesterday & you’ve got a foot in tomorrow, you’ve got a chance to crap all over today.”
— Tim Williams (@timwilliamsP2) February 18, 2014
Travis Snider has to take things lightly in workouts for a few days after a he hurt his hand in a “kitchen knife sweet potato incident.” That’s typical Snider – another weird injury (and related to his unabashed love of food) just as the Pirates were looking to give him another shot. It sounds minor, but he needs a strong spring / start to the year so any injury is a problem.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark was in Bradenton and has a news and notes piece, plus a piece on Clint Hurdle’s new buzz-word: “Now”