Radio, TV, web have Pirates' spring covered

Preseason games include 12 streamed exclusively online

Radio, TV, web have Pirates' spring covered

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The surest sound of spring -- not the chirping of robins but the crack of bat meeting ball -- will waft over Pittsburgh airwaves at 1:05 p.m. ET on March 3. The Pirates' Grapefruit League opener against Toronto in Dunedin, Fla., will air on KDKA FM, the first of the full broadcast schedule of 29 exhibitions.

KDKA, the flagship of the Bucs' 40-station radio network, and ROOT Sports TV are in the preseason mix, but a dozen of the preseason games will be streamed exclusively on pirates.com, starting with the home opener at McKechnie Field, a March 4 return engagement with the Blue Jays at 1:05 p.m. ET.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hurdle back in action after 2nd hip surgery

Pirates manager in Florida for rehab, speaks at fantasy camp

Hurdle back in action after 2nd hip surgery

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After undergoing right hip replacement surgery Oct. 6, Clint Hurdle promised wife Karla that he'd be dancing by New Year's Eve.

There is no documented proof of Hurdle cutting the rug on Dec. 31. But if he vowed to be back on the field in Pirate City 19 days after also having his left hip replaced, the Buccos manager nailed that one.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Bell No. 1 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 1B Prospects list

Bucs' Bell leads list, followed by A's Olson, Yanks' Bird

Bell No. 1 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 1B Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday, Jan. 30, on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.

As has become an annual occurrence, the list of top first basemen lacks a bit in the elite prospect department. But there is good news: There are two players on this list on this year's Top 100: Josh Bell of the Pirates and Matt Olson of the A's. That doubles the total from the 2014 preseason list.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pitching projects hope to revitalize careers with Pirates

Richard, Liz look to follow trend of hurlers who rediscover form in Bucs' camp

Pitching projects hope to revitalize careers with Pirates

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Ever since 16th-century explorer Ponce de Leon first became obsessed with it, people have canvassed Florida in search of the Fountain of Youth. Maybe they just haven't looked in the right place: Pirate City, in a quiet residential neighborhood of Bradenton.

It has certainly worked wonders for a string of pitchers. A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano, Mark Melancon and Edinson Volquez have all been rejuvenated in the Bucs' Spring Training camp. A couple of other faded 30-something projects, Clayton Richard and Radhames Liz, are now dipping their toes in the pool.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

National TV plans lead to tweak of Bucs' schedule

The Pirates' 2015 schedule has been adjusted to oblige national networks' plans to telecast potential pennant-drive games from PNC Park. The starting times of four games have been altered, also triggering changes in the club's promotions lineup.

Leading off, the Pirates will be making their second Sunday Night Baseball appearance in as many years, when they host the Cardinals on July 12, thus switched from 1:35 p.m. ET to 8:05 p.m. The July 11 game with St. Louis will also be nationally televised, by FOX, and start at 7:15 p.m. instead of the previously scheduled 4:05 p.m.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

McGuire No. 7 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 C Prospects list

Red Sox's Swihart sits atop list, followed by Rangers' Alfaro and Cubs' Schwarber

McGuire No. 7 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 C Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday, Jan. 30, on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.

Though only one catcher (Blake Swihart of the Red Sox) fits in the top 40 spots on MLBPipeline.com's upcoming 2015 Top 100 Prospects list, talent behind the plate actually runs deep. The Minors are teeming with backstops who have the tools to contribute offensively and defensively in the big leagues in the near future. This list could see a lot of turnover a year from now, as Christian Bethancourt figures to be the Braves' starter and Swihart, Kevin Plawecki (Mets) and J.T. Realmuto (Marlins) could be playing regularly in the Majors by season's end.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, Callis' Corner. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates have clean slate to find right cleanup man

After No. 4 hitter struggled mightily for Bucs in 2014, solidifying spot in lineup a focus this spring

Pirates have clean slate to find right cleanup man

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- In his four seasons of managing the Pirates, Clint Hurdle has gone through nearly as many cleanup hitters as wads of chewing gum. Eleven different players have started more than 10 games in that spot since 2011.

Coming up with that serviceable No. 4 hitter will be one of Spring Training's main projects, both for production and protection for Andrew McCutchen. The first baseman could fill that role -- whether it's Pedro Alvarez or Corey Hart. But you also have to wonder if Jung Ho Kang could be a dark-horse candidate for that job, too.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Harrison holds MLK Day baseball camp for kids

Harrison holds MLK Day baseball camp for kids

Pirates utility man Josh Harrison spent his Martin Luther King Jr. Day with his brother and a group of Minor Leaguers, running a baseball camp for Cincinnati-area children.

Harrison appeared on MLB Network's "Hot Stove" show Tuesday morning to discuss the Harrison Brothers MLK Day Camp and his breakout 2014 season.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Glasnow No. 3 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 RHP Prospects list

Nats' Giolito leads list, followed by Mets' Syndergaard, Pirates' Glasnow

Glasnow No. 3 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 RHP Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday, Jan. 30, on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.

There are always a ton of right-handed pitchers on our Top 100 list. The 2015 version is no different. All 10 on the list below are in the Top 100, and then some.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Prospect Tucker talks about playing through torn ligament

Prospect Tucker talks about playing through torn ligament

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The Pirates knew Cole Tucker was good. That is why they made the Phoenix shortstop their top pick in last summer's First-Year Player Draft, an assessment only confirmed when his first half-season of pro play earned him MLB.com's ranking as the team's No. 9 prospect.

Now the Bucs know Tucker is also gutsy, a real gamer. He played his last 37 games with the Gulf Coast Pirates with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb -- which he had surgically repaired on Oct. 1.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kang trains in Arizona ahead of Pirates' camp

Korean infielder says he's 'looking forward to playing with my new teammates'

Kang trains in Arizona ahead of Pirates' camp

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Even without knowing he wears uniform No. 16 or being increasingly familiar with his visage, Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang was easy to pick out on Field No. 5.

His stature is similar to that of the other 41 Nexen Heroes going through preseason workouts at the Texas Rangers' Spring Training facility, but not his breadth. Kang is brawnier, bulkier -- visual confirmation of something often heard about him.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs, Kang make it official with 4-year deal

Infielder looking to be first Korean Baseball Organization position player to make it to MLB

Bucs, Kang make it official with 4-year deal

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jung Ho Kang got the thumbs-up from doctors on Thursday. Along with it, he got the chance -- in manager Clint Hurdle's pet description of players coming through -- to post up for the Pirates.

The South Korean infielder passed his required physical, then signed the four-year contract that was agreed to in principle last week. Per a Major League Baseball source, the deal is guaranteed at $11 million, and includes a club option for 2019 at $5.5 million.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cervelli embracing opportunity to start for Bucs

Cervelli embracing opportunity to start for Bucs

When Francisco Cervelli made his rounds at PirateFest shortly before Christmas, he was well-dressed, well-spoken and well-received. The 28-year-old catcher -- who was acquired from the New York Yankees last November -- moved about the David L. Lawrence Convention Center with a smile on his face as he exchanged pleasantries with fans, members of the media and several of his new teammates.

"This is amazing, especially for me. I'm new," Cervelli said as he surveyed the scene. "I'm getting to know people and they're getting to know me a little bit."

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Jim Lachimia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Melancon, eight other Pirates avoid arbitration

Bucs exchange numbers with Walker, Alvarez, Worley

Melancon, eight other Pirates avoid arbitration

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- In tune with the busiest fiscal day on the baseball calendar, the Pirates spent Friday crossing names one-by-one off the list 12 cases on their arbitration ledger.

By late afternoon, there were nine crossed-out names, all but the right side of the infield in second baseman Neil Walker and first baseman Pedro Alvarez, and starting pitcher Vance Worley. Earlier in the day, the parties and the club exchanged salary requests and offers for potential hearings next month.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Anthony Castrovince

Kang signing a risk worth taking for Pirates

With no pressing need in lineup, Bucs can ease transition for Korean star

Kang signing a risk worth taking for Pirates

The pursuit of power has led desperate teams down some dark and perhaps even dangerous roads already this winter. The Mariners bit the bullet and signed Nelson Cruz -- the very player they had ultimately shied away from on a much lesser commitment just a year earlier -- because of his singular place in the 40-homer stratosphere in 2014. The Royals took chances on Kendrys Morales and Alex Rios, praying for big bouncebacks from sagging bats. The D-backs became the latest club to commit big bucks to an unproven Cuban slugger (Yasmany Tomas), hoping he'll be even remotely as successful as last year's top rookie, Jose Abreu.

The list, of course, goes on, but it was a signing officially announced by the Pirates on Friday that stands, in my mind, as possibly the most interesting of all, given its potential long-term ramifications for relations between Major League clubs and the Korean Baseball Organization pipeline. If Korea's own 40-homer hitter, Jung Ho Kang, is a total bust with the Buccos, well, the total investment -- a $5 million posting bid and a reported four-year, $11 million contract with a club option for $5.5 million in 2019 -- is somewhat easy to stomach, even in a smaller market. And if Kang (pronounced "GAHNG") goes all Abreu on us, he'll totally reinvent our perception of the Korean professional position-player market.

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Anthony Castrovince is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @Castrovince. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brief break helped Little recharge for return to bigs

Former manager getting ready to work for Bucs after seven-year breather

Brief break helped Little recharge for return to bigs

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- On July 16, 2007, a fifth consecutive win gave the Los Angeles Dodgers a one-game lead in the National League West.

Three weeks later, the Dodgers lost their fifth straight, falling into third place.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mercer welcomes confident Kang in position battle

Incumbent shortstop spent week in Pirate City for voluntary minicamp

Mercer welcomes confident Kang in position battle

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Jordy Mercer spent the week at Pirate City for a few reasons. He likes the opportunity to get back on the field and shake off some rust, while knowing Spring Training is still a month away. Mercer also appreciates the chance to briefly escape his native Oklahoma's cold winter for the mostly warm Florida weather.

"I enjoy it, hanging out with the guys and taking a little mini-vacation as well," Mercer said Thursday morning. "That's one of the main reasons I came."

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Treanor to manage Triple-A Indians for fifth year

Pirates announce full roster of managers and coaches for Minor League affiliates

Treanor to manage Triple-A Indians for fifth year

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Dean Treanor, the dean of managers in the Pirates' Minor League system in more than just name, will be back at the helm of the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians for a fifth straight season. Treanor's return was confirmed Thursday when the club announced the full roster of managers and coaches for its eight Minor League affiliates.

The dismissal following the 2014 season of Double-A Altoona manager Carlos Garcia has triggered promotions throughout the rest of the system, as announced by Larry Broadway, the Bucs' director of Minor League operations.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kang gets big sendoff, packs high expectations

Shortstop spot, shot at Aroldis on slugger's list as physical with Bucs awaits

Kang gets big sendoff, packs high expectations

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The next big thing in America is already huge in South Korea. Jung-ho Kang, packing his hopes and his nation's obvious pride, received a frenzied sendoff Wednesday morning (Tuesday evening our time) as he departed for Pittsburgh.

Kang, who is scheduled to undergo a physical on Thursday before he signs his four-year contract with the Pirates, has power at bat. He also has the power of positive thinking: He wants to take Jordy Mercer down, and wants to take Aroldis Chapman out.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

GM hopes Bucs can settle all 12 arb-eligible cases

Walker, Alvarez, Melancon, Harrison among players who may file

GM hopes Bucs can settle all 12 arb-eligible cases

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Even while addressing all their needs, the Pirates have spent a relatively idle offseason when compared to all the shakeups around the Major Leagues. The Bucs will make up for that this week.

And there is nothing arbitrary about that statement: The Pirates had 12 eligible players file for salary arbitration before Tuesday's midnight ET deadline, tied with the Nationals for the most in the big leagues. Between now and when hard numbers have to be submitted on Friday, the Bucs could settle with all 12.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Returning from pair of injuries, Morton back on mound

Bucs righty building up arm strength, feeling good; Alvarez not at mini-camp

Returning from pair of injuries, Morton back on mound

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Given the amount of time he's spent on the disabled list the past few years, Charlie Morton has grown used to pitching at unusual times, often alone and in front of more eyes than usual.

That was the case Tuesday morning, as Morton toed the rubber of a bullpen mound at Pirate City during the second day of the Pirates' four-day mini-camp. It was a fairly low-key session -- Class A Advanced Bradenton pitching coach Justin Meccage, on the receiving end, wasn't even wearing catcher's gear -- but it was Morton's first time throwing off a mound since September, when he underwent right hip surgery.

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Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Former Negro Leaguer Long passes away

Carl Long, who broke the Carolina League's color barrier in 1956, died Monday from an illness resulting from a stroke he suffered last fall. He was 79.

Long, an outfielder and third baseman, spent one season with the Kinston Eagles in North Carolina. In doing so, he became the first black player to play professionally in the Carolina League.

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AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kang heading to Pittsburgh for physical this week

Korean shortstop, Pirates on verge of completing historic deal

Kang heading to Pittsburgh for physical this week

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Three weeks ago, when the Pirates' high bid for negotiating rights to Jung-ho Kang was accepted by his Korean Baseball Organization team, many weren't sure what to make of it. First, the Pirates would have to sign the Korean All-Star and then figure out just what they had on their hands.

That process may begin in earnest this week. According to a post on the website of Kang's team, the Nexen Heroes, he is booked on a Wednesday flight to Pittsburgh and will undergo a physical on Thursday. If that goes well, the Heroes will keep the $5,002,015 bid and the Bucs will keep Kang; he would formally sign a contract believed to be for four years and head to Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla. It is there that the fun will begin.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Pipeline Perspectives: Glasnow will lead Minors in K's

Pirates prospect expected to thrive with Double-A Altoona in 2015

Pipeline Perspectives: Glasnow will lead Minors in K's

There's a good amount of subjectivity regarding baseball prospects. With the evaluation of talent being in the eye of the beholder, finding consensus is often difficult. Even Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of MLBPipeline.com don't always see eye to eye. They discuss their viewpoints regularly in a feature called Pipeline Perspectives. Submit a topic for them to debate.

We're continuing our march through 2015 statistical leader predictions with this week's Pipeline Perspectives. Last week, Jim Callis and I discussed who we thought would win the Minor League home run crown (in case you missed it, I took Matt Olson of the A's; Jim went with the Rangers' Joey Gallo). This week, we're looking at power of a different kind.

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Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Former big leaguer Carroll hired as special assistant

Former big leaguer Carroll hired as special assistant

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Jamey Carroll, whose 12-year career as a versatile and vagabond infielder ended last year, has joined the Pirates' expanding baseball-operations department to begin a new career.

Carroll was hired Monday as a special assistant. The 40-year-old becomes the second former player added to the staff, joining former Pirates first baseman Kevin Young, who was added last month.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs sign 2 to Minors deals, invite them, 6 others to camp

Bucs sign 2 to Minors deals, invite them, 6 others to camp

The Pirates signed right-hander Wilfredo Boscan and left-hander Charlie Leesman to Minor League contracts with invitations to Major League Spring Training on Friday, while inviting six other Minor Leaguers to big league camp.

Boscan, 25, spent 2014 in the Red Sox system, where he posted a 3.66 ERA in 22 appearances (five starts) between Triple-A Pawtucket and Double-A Portland. He was originally signed by the Rangers in 2006 as a non-drafted free agent.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

For starters: Hurdle wants pitchers to produce at plate

For starters: Hurdle wants pitchers to produce at plate

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle recently blindsided people when he cited improved hitting by pitchers as a primary focus in 2015.

Offensive contribution from hurlers would seem to rank pretty low on any team's wish list. However, there could be a connection to Hurdle's chronic wish for more innings out of his starters.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Spring workout dates announced for all clubs

Spring workout dates announced for all clubs

Spring is officially on the horizon.

Major League Baseball announced the first Spring Training workout dates for all 30 of its clubs on Thursday. Pitchers and catchers for the reigning World Series champion Giants -- along with the Phillies, Pirates and Reds -- will be the first to work out, with a Feb. 19 start date. Thirteen other clubs will work out pitchers and catchers for the first time the following day.

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AJ Cassavell is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

How will signing Kang impact Walker's future with Bucs?

How will signing Kang impact Walker's future with Bucs?

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- With their $5 million negotiating fee already in the ante, the Pirates are about halfway to the deadline for striking a deal with Korean infielder Jung-ho Kang.

The negotiations with agent Alan Nero proceed, with no comment expected from general manager Neal Huntington until a deal is struck or the Jan. 20 deadline passes.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.