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The Start of Spring...

It is once again becoming that time of year again; when the sun starts to shine just a little bit longer, the temperature is just a little bit warmer, the NFL playoffs are winding down, Tiger Woods isn't on tour to make the start of golf exciting, and Pirates baseball is in the air. We are drawing closer to the start of spring training with each passing day and I know that this Pirate fan is excited for the season to get here. Thanks to a special pre-order that I am privy to, I secured my opening day tickets just past 10:00a.m. Monday morning.

General Note: All season and partial season plans are on sale now, and all individual game tickets will go on sale January 29th.

We are just a mere 42 days away from the Pirates taking the field for the first time in this upcoming 2010 season. Granted the first game is an exhibition game and it is versus Manatee-Sarasota, (The State College of Florida). The following day we get to see the 2009 World Champion's, (or should I say a team that bought the pennant instead of winning it). How could we forget the hundreds of millions of dollars that were being thrown around to the top names like; C.C Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and A.J. Burnett, a combined $52,410,714 just for last year, which is more than the Padres, Marlins, and Pirates total payrolls for last season. That is just three players; it doesn't include the other 24 players that sum up the remaining $155,686,700, So now you see why I said "bought a championship!"
There are many new faces to watch this spring, especially in the bullpen, where the likes of Matt Capps, John Grabow, Ian Snell, Tom Gorzelanny, or Jesse Chavez. They will be going into spring with Paul Maholm, Zach Duke, Ross "the boss" Ohlendorf, Charlie Morton, and Kevin Hart as the potential starting rotation. With it looking more and more like the Pirates will be signing Octavio Dotel in the coming days, he will provide a backend to a bullpen with a lot of arms competing for a spot. This list includes; newly acquired Brendan Donnelly, Donnie Veal, Tyler Yates, Javier Lopez, Steven Jackson, Brad Lincoln, and many others. It should be fun watching as they compete for roles in a pen that could use improvement over last season.
As to date, the Pirates have been fairly quiet in attaining a big power bat this off-season, but let's face it, Holliday, Guerrero, and Matsui were all out their price range, and there aren't too many left after that. With the addition of Ryan Church (will help solidify a young outfield), and Akinori Iwamura to play middle infield with Bobby Crosby this season, makes me have hope that we are headed in the right direction.
As of today, the Pirates depth chart is as follows:
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First Base - Jeff Clement, Garrett Jones
Second Base - Iwamura, Delwyn Young, Ramon Vazquez
Shortstop - Ronny Cedeno, Crosby, Vazquez
Third Base - Andy LaRoche, Iwamura
Left Field - Lastings Milledge, Brandon Moss
Center Field - Andrew McCutchen, John Raynor
Right Field - Garrett Jones, Moss, Young
Starters - Maholm, Ohlendorf, Duke, Morton, Hart
Bullpen - Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, Lopez, Jeff Karstens, Jackson, and Chris Jakubauskas

________________________________________________________________________________________
All current roster information from Pirates official website.

With just 29 days left before pitchers and catchers report for the Pirates and many other teams, it is time to get geared up for the upcoming season. What better way to get excited about Bucco Baseball than to attend the Annual PiratesFest at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center this January 29th through the 31st. It is a great time to meet Pirate players past and current, play games, win prizes, and get tickets to the games. I will be taking my daughter, Mya on Friday so she can experience her first time. Until next time, keep on praying and let's go Buc's!

aaron.