Bucs adjust offseason conditioning program

Bucs adjust offseason conditioning program

ST. LOUIS -- The Pirates still plan to hold a series of minicamps this offseason. The focus of those camps, however, will vary a bit from those in recent years.

Pitchers will not begin their offseason throwing programs as early, which means that the organization's January minicamp in Bradenton, Fla., will be geared much more toward conditioning than baseball activities. During the last three offseasons, pitchers typically began throwing off the mound during that organizational gathering.

As explained by manager John Russell, pitchers will ramp up their throwing programs after that camp for the final month before Spring Training.

The club plans to hold a couple of additional conditioning camps throughout the fall, including one in Pittsburgh. Conditioning coordinator Frank Velasquez will also be making site visits to ensure that players are sticking to their conditioning programs.

For the last few offseasons, the Pirates also sent players out to Washington to work one-on-one with hitting coach Don Long. At this point, similar plans haven't been made.

"We've talked about it a little bit, but we haven't really pinpointed something at this time," Russell said. "It's been kicked around."