Bumpy '16 provided valuable lessons for Brault

Bumpy '16 provided valuable lessons for Brault

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates believe we have not yet seen Steven Brault at his best.

Brault is one of four pitchers competing for the final spot in Pittsburgh's rotation, and he's the only left-hander among the Bucs' top eight starters. The Pirates won't choose Brault just to balance their entirely right-handed starting staff, but the 24-year-old could claim the spot -- especially if he flashes the form he showed early last year, before his big league debut.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs reliever Light no fan of intentional walks

Bucs reliever Light no fan of intentional walks

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates reliever Pat Light is ready for automatic intentional walks.

"Love it," Light said, smiling. "Super excited about it."

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hanrahan to serve as coach for Class A club

Hanrahan to serve as coach for Class A club

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Joel Hanrahan is back with the Pirates.

Hanrahan, a former Bucs closer, will serve as an assistant pitching coach for the short-season Class A West Virginia Black Bears. Hanrahan announced his retirement in November after spending three years trying to come back from Tommy John surgeries.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kang's DUI verdict hearing set for March 3

Infielder not expected to join Pirates until legal process finalized in S. Korea

Kang's DUI verdict hearing set for March 3

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang attended a hearing in South Korea on Wednesday, during which he admitted to the latest DUI charge against him, according to multiple reports.

Kang was arrested on Dec. 2 after fleeing the scene of a DUI, and it was later revealed to be his third such charge since 2009. The Seoul Central District Court will hold a verdict hearing on March 3, according to the Yonhap News Agency and The Associated Press.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jaso glad to fill multiple roles for Bucs in '17

Jaso glad to fill multiple roles for Bucs in '17

BRADENTON, Fla. -- John Jaso has grown accustomed to the shuffle that comes with life in the big leagues. Even if he seems to experience it more often than his peers.

A catcher before concussions forced him to give up his place behind the plate, Jaso signed with the Pirates last offseason on a two-year, $8 million contract to play first base for the first time in his career. The move came following a brief second stint with the Rays -- the club that drafted him in 2003 and with which he spent much of the 2015 season as the designated hitter or getting his initial taste of the outfield.

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

McCutchen, Chevy team up to support youth initiatives

Pirates outfielder to help bring game's excitement to communities

McCutchen, Chevy team up to support youth initiatives

Andrew McCutchen might have to get used to his new position in right field this spring, but here's one move by the Pirates' five-time All-Star that will require no adjustment whatsoever.

Chevrolet announced on Wednesday that it has enlisted the help of McCutchen and soccer star Alex Morgan to support the brand's youth sports programs around the country. McCutchen will work with Chevrolet on its Youth Baseball initiatives, while the Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion will help the brand grow its Youth Soccer programs.

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Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Read and join other baseball fans on his MLB.com community blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cervelli feeling better, participates in workout

Cervelli feeling better, participates in workout

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli returned to workouts on Tuesday after sitting out the previous two days with right foot discomfort.

The 30-year-old Cervelli, who was limited to 101 games last season with a fracture in his left hand, was excused from Sunday's workout at the Pirate City complex after feeling some pain on the bottom of his foot while running.

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Bell pain-free after facing Pirates pitchers

Bell pain-free after facing Pirates pitchers

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates first baseman Josh Bell took another step toward full recovery from offseason knee surgery, facing live pitching on Tuesday for the first time in Spring Training.

The switch-hitting Bell, who underwent the procedure a few weeks ago to remove a loose body in his left knee and help alleviate some discomfort, said he felt no pain while facing right-handers Jameson Taillon and Tyler Glasnow at the Pirate City training complex.

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

Nutting: Team 'refocused'; Cervelli on mend

Nutting: Team 'refocused'; Cervelli on mend

BRADENTON, Fla. -- After his annual Spring Training meeting with the Pirates' players and coaches Monday morning, owner Bob Nutting sat down for a 30-minute chat with the media and covered a broad range of topics regarding the club's vision, spending and disappointing 2016 season.

Asked about the lessons learned from last year's 83-loss campaign, Nutting pointed to collective underperformance rather than a lack of talent or support. Many of the Bucs' key players, including Andrew McCutchen and Gerrit Cole, either didn't meet their usual standard or battled injuries.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Coonelly shares his vision for Pirates' future

Club president discusses 2017 club, what's on the horizon and charitable initiatives

Coonelly shares his vision for Pirates' future

BRADENTON, Fla. -- With Spring Training in full swing, Frank Coonelly stepped outside the Pirate City clubhouse on Sunday and delivered a "State of the Pirates" address in time for Presidents Day.

Since taking over as club president in September 2007, Coonelly has worked to make the Pirates competitive on the field -- in the present and future -- while increasing their efforts to make a difference off the field. After three straight winning seasons and trips to the postseason, Coonelly shared in fans' disappointment about the step backward in an 83-loss 2016 campaign.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nutting: Bucs would love to keep core intact

Pirates owner expresses desire to retain Huntington, Hurdle, McCutchen beyond '17

Nutting: Bucs would love to keep core intact

BRADENTON, Fla. -- As the Pirates ramp up their Spring Training workouts, the futures of three organizational pillars remains uncertain. But owner Bob Nutting said Monday that the Bucs would love to keep general manager Neal Huntington, manager Clint Hurdle and right fielder Andrew McCutchen beyond the life of their current contracts.

Perhaps coincidentally, all three are signed to similar deals: Their contracts are guaranteed through 2017 with club options for '18. McCutchen spent the offseason surrounded by trade rumors, fueling speculation that this may be his last season in Pittsburgh. The club has yet to extend either Huntington or Hurdle, or pick up their options for next year.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

LeBlanc hoping he's found home with Pirates

Veteran lefty's career has sent him around the world and back

LeBlanc hoping he's found home with Pirates

BRADENTON, Fla. -- In eight Major League seasons, Wade LeBlanc has played for seven teams. He's used to moving around.

Last year alone took the veteran left-hander from Spring Training in Dunedin, Fla., to Buffalo, N.Y., back to the big leagues in Seattle, then down to Triple-A Tacoma and, finally, to Pittsburgh. The previous year? To Japan and back again.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Healthy offseason propels Harrison into spring

Healthy offseason propels Harrison into spring

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Josh Harrison could tell when he swung a bat, picked up a dumbbell or playfully tossed his 3-year-old daughter, Mia, in the air.

The lingering soreness in Harrison's left hand, the result of a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his thumb, was no longer an issue. Unlike last winter, he said, he enjoyed a healthy offseason.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hurdle keen on Bucs' 'fun' spring matchups

Hurdle keen on Bucs' 'fun' spring matchups

BRADENTON, Fla. -- During the portion of Spring Training held at Pirate City, Clint Hurdle likes to stroll from field to field, observing drills and standing behind "turtle" batting cages. When the manager's around, the thinking goes, the level of intensity picks up.

"That's why I try to move around, just in case there's something to that," Hurdle said, grinning. "I'm not saying there is."

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cutch ready to put turbulent offseason in past

After tough 2016, Pirates star was subject of widespread trade speculation

Cutch ready to put turbulent offseason in past

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Andrew McCutchen made it clear Friday morning: Moving out of center field was not his preference or his decision, but he has come to accept the position change after a turbulent offseason.

Before swatting line drives, fielding a few batting-practice fly balls in right field and flashing his trademark smile during the Pirates' first full-squad workout, McCutchen addressed the media for more than 15 minutes. He discussed the switch to right field, the offseason full of trade rumors and the lengthy slump he endured in the worst season of his career.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hurdle, Cutch enter camp tighter than ever

Manager and star have learned to 'listen and share clarity and thoughts'

Hurdle, Cutch enter camp tighter than ever

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is highly regarded for his ability to understand and communicate with players. His experience as a person, former top prospect, player, coach and manager gives him a unique, empathetic lens into their situations.

But navigating Andrew McCutchen's rough year and position change from center to right field brought a different challenge for Hurdle, one he and McCutchen both learned from.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs trio gearing up for outfield realignment

Bucs trio gearing up for outfield realignment

BRADENTON, Fla. -- This season, Andrew McCutchen will get his first taste of right field. Gregory Polanco will be an everyday left fielder for the first time in his career. But for Starling Marte, the Pirates' outfield realignment brought a welcome return to his natural position.

It was Marte's ability that allowed the Bucs to shake up their outfield in pursuit of their best defensive configuration. After reporting to Pirate City for Spring Training on Thursday, Marte said he's ready to make the move.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Glovely to meet you: Taillon receives his mitts

Glovely to meet you: Taillon receives his mitts

BRADENTON, Fla. -- It might be a cliché to say Thursday was like Christmas Day for Jameson Taillon and some of his Pirates teammates. But, well…

"It is Christmas," Taillon said.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Watson's arbitration case settles in Bucs' favor

Closer will make $5.6 million in final year of eligibility

Watson's arbitration case settles in Bucs' favor

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates won their arbitration case against closer Tony Watson, setting the left-hander's 2017 salary at $5.6 million.

In his third and final year of arbitration eligibility, Watson and the Pirates were separated by only $400,000 when they filed their respective salary figures. Watson asked for $6 million.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nicasio content to pitch out of Pirates' bullpen

Right-hander had success pitching in relief after rough stretch as a starter in 2016

Nicasio content to pitch out of Pirates' bullpen

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Juan Nicasio won't be the Pirates' Spring Training surprise this year. He's ready to pitch out of the bullpen.

"No more trying to be a starter," Nicasio said, smiling. "I'm pitching better in the bullpen. I think I can help the team more in the bullpen than starting."

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs' final rotation spot up for grabs as camp opens

Bucs' final rotation spot up for grabs as camp opens

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates pitchers and catchers took the field Tuesday for their first Spring Training workout, and with that came the beginning of a competition for Pittsburgh's final rotation spot.

Gerrit Cole, Ivan Nova and Jameson Taillon are locks to crack the Opening Day staff, if healthy. General manager Neal Huntington said again Tuesday that right-hander Chad Kuhl earned "an inside track" with a solid debut last year, and they expect Kuhl to improve in his second season. That leaves one spot and four leading candidates: Drew Hutchison, Tyler Glasnow, Steven Brault and Trevor Williams.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hurdle: McCutchen to bat in usual lineup spot

Hurdle: McCutchen to bat in usual lineup spot

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Andrew McCutchen will learn a new outfield position this spring, but his spot in the lineup will stay the same.

McCutchen will bat third this season, manager Clint Hurdle said Tuesday. Backed by supporting data and logical reasoning, the Bucs bumped McCutchen to the No. 2 spot last spring but eventually returned him to the three hole.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kang expected to miss Pirates' report date

Third baseman awaiting trial in Korea for offseason DUI incident

Kang expected to miss Pirates' report date

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang will not report to Spring Training on Friday with the rest of his teammates as he awaits a Feb. 22 trial following his latest DUI arrest in South Korea.

General manager Neal Huntington confirmed last week that Kang was not expected to arrive until after his trial, which is set to take place five days after the Bucs' first full-squad workout at Pirate City. Pirates president Frank Coonelly made the news official in a statement released Tuesday morning.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nova enters Bucs camp as veteran presence

Pitcher returns to Pirates' rotation on three-year contract

Nova enters Bucs camp as veteran presence

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Ivan Nova was talking to CC Sabathia one day in the Yankees clubhouse when Sabathia told his younger teammate, "One day, you're going to be the veteran."

"No, I'm still a rookie," Nova replied. Then he explained: "It's better to be a rookie in your mind than a veteran."

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cole arrives at camp with clean bill of health

Pirates' ace finished last season on 60-day DL

Cole arrives at camp with clean bill of health

BRADENTON, Fla. -- It was an eventful offseason for Gerrit Cole. He got married, honeymooned in the Caribbean and took in a UCLA basketball game or two. From a baseball standpoint, Cole's winter was mercifully normal and uneventful.

This time last year, Cole was still recovering from rib inflammation that derailed his preseason program. He provided a more optimistic outlook Monday on the eve of the Pirates' first spring workout for pitchers and catchers.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.