Results tagged ‘ Andrew McCutchen ’

The Boys are Back in Town

Fresh off a four day break from baseball the Pittsburgh Pirates returned from their reunions with family and friends and set up shop back in PNC Park. The Giants were in town and so were the Peaslee men.

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My brother, Zach, my father, Rick, and myself went to Pittsburgh for a nice Friday evening of baseball and fun. You’re probably wondering why I would let my brother wear a Giants shirt. After all he too is a die-hard Pirates fan and bleeds black and gold. Once you see the back you may understand the method behind his madness.


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 You see Zach is a big fan of the Giant’s pithcer and National League All-Star starting pitcher Tim Lincecum, but then again who isn’t? I, too am a big fan. The lanky hurler is a fresh face for the MLB and is turning into the elite name in all of baseball. At just 24 year sold he has been captivating the baseball nation ove rthe past few years. He has been on the cover of countless magazines and is the cover of the video game, MLB 2k9. Lincecum is featured on a commercial for Major League baseball being shown as just a down home guy, my type of baseball player. He is here for strict love of the game and the fact that he plays so well and i so dominating makes his aura even better.

On the ride the park we tuned in to the local sports talk radio station. Ellis Cannon, sports talk personality in Pittsburgh spoke wonders about Lincecum and the entire Giants franchise. He was raving and had every right to. The Giants are so much improved this year. A big part of the success is their home grown talent. Some the Pirates are looking to do—–build from within. Players like pitchers Lincecum and Matt Cain and third baseman Pablo Sandoval have all risen up through the system and are striving over time in the San Francisco clubhouse. 

Players like that will continue to shinebecause they are young and have a whole career ahead of them. Who knows what is to come?. The sky is the limit. Maybe sometime Tim Lincecum himself  will turn into a bigger international legend than he already is, maybe even have a parking garage floor named after him like this guy…..

Roberto Clemente! The Great One will forever be remembered for his heroics on and off the
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field. In Pittsburgh he is highyl regarded in the community with many parks, monuments and even a bridge named for him. In the parking garage right outside PNC Park you too can take part in celebrating his life, by parking on the 7th floor. The ten floor parking garage features ten diffrent Pittsburgh sports legends. For just 12 dollars to park you can honor you rfavorite legend. Players such as Tony Dorsett, Franco Harris, Dan Marino and Andy Van Slyke all are honored. It is my favorite place to park in the city. It is always fun parking on a different floor to see which player you will end up with.

As we walked to the park it was drizzling. Not a heavy rain but enough to suspend play. The game was slated to start at 7:05 but wound up beginning at 7:50. From the gates we passed through we were handed beach towels, it was beach towel night. The perfect give away item on a rainy day. They were perfect to wipe off the damp seats. From the main home plate gate we ran out to center field, our destination was the bullpen. We wanted to catch a glimpse of the freak known as Tim Lincecum as he was warming up. We were greeted with a throng of people out there and Zach even met his match.

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 The man in the authentic Lincecum jersey had to be in his mid-50s. He was watching Tim warm up, analyzing his throws and capturing it all on his state of the art camcorder. We figured it was either his father (who is shown on that MLB commercial) or a big creep out to follow his every move. Either or he was a die hard fan. There were close to 30 people at the bullpen awaiting Lincy’s arrival. It was pretty cool, everyone was anticpating a big celebrity like the Pope. But it was just Tim Lincecum, but either way he was quite the spectacle.


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He went through a rigorous warm up routine. Stretching in many different positions. It was almost like a Yoga lesson.

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Once he entered the bullpen many people started flashing their pictures. He had his trademarked crazy windup going all out. He through some nice strikes to the bullpen catcher. He was ready for action looking to improve from his mediocre showing at the All-Star game.



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 When his name was announced and he enetered the game a large cheer went up from the Pittsburgh crowd. Everybody knows who he is and like I said before you can’t not like this kid. I was surprised with the amount of Giants fans in the crowd. If you’ve ever looked at a map you can see how far San Francisco is from Pittsburgh, a good 3,000 miles. Whether it was actual Northern Californians or just bandwagon fans I won’t know. But I saw double digit numbers of Lincecum shirts and jeresys as well as many Bonds jerseys. I will admit that I have a soft spot for the Giants and the whole Bay Area vicinity, I will explain that later, back to the game last night.

It wa steh definition of a pitcher’s duel. Paul Maholm took the hill for the Pirates and had his most successful outing of the season. Maholm only allowed 4 hits and struck out 7 batters over 7 innings of work. Lincecum duplicated Maholm’s success only allowing 5 hits and striking out 7 of his own. Lincy did get shaken up a bit in the first inning when Garret Jones went deep to straight away center for his 6th dinger of the season. The one nothing score would remain like that until the 7th inning when the Giants tied it thanks to an error on a stolen base attempt. The one-one tie would last beyond the regular nine innings as this one headed to extras. 

The extra frames were excruciating No team could do anything. Popouts, groundouts and strikeouts were all wer were able to see, from both teams. Nobody really threatened and the game looked like it would never end. During an inning break we went to the bathroom, and used it as an excuse to stretch our legs. It takes a toll on the body sitting for that long. The entertainment crew took note of that as well and played “Take me out to the Ballgame” AGAIN in the middle of teh 14th. I’ve never heard it twice in a game before. 

On our bathroom trip Zach stopped at a souvineer stand and picked up this beauty.

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 A $27 dollar Andre McCutchen T-shirt. A fabulous item of clothing in my mind. I would die to have one honestly. But at $27 dollars that is a little pricy. Zach made the case that he only has one other Pirate shirt and he wanted to be one of the first people to own a McCutchen shirt. Now as much as I love Cutch, I’m sorry but I just got to save my money. He will most definately enjoy the shirt and wear it proudly. It is just too bad Andrew did not notice as he went 0-5 in the game. 

The bottomof teh 14th game and Garret Jones stepped up to the plate and finished what he started. Jones blasted a Bob Howry pitch into the Allegheny River for the walk off win. I couldn’t believe it. As soon as he made contact I knew it was gone. It was a surreal momment. I gradually stood up and just raised my hands in the air. It was the perfect ending to a great night at the ballpark. There’s nothing I love more than a walk off win and the mobbing that comes at home plate.


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 There have been just 2 Pirate walk off wins this year and I’m proud to say I have been in attendance at both. Jones’ accomplishments at the plate this year have been next to unbelievable. He was 15 hits, 7 of which are home runs. He is an absolute beast. It is great for him, the team and the fans but sooner or later he is bound to cool down. When that happens it will be interesting to see if he can sustain himself at the major league level. The Pirates now stand at 39-50 on the year.





The Timeline of Frustration

7:05– Bucco game starts. Excitement runs through my veins as another Philies-Pirates game begins. I enjoy this cross state rivalry and look forward to the games each year.

7:15- Pirate right fielder Garret Jones launches a home run to right field. I was skeptical of Jones at first. He never did intrigue me. He has since proven me wrong. Since his time in the big leagues he has connected with the ball well and been an asset in the outfield. He showed tonight that he has the power that the Pirates need.


jones.jpg7:18- Delwyn Young homers to left field.
 I love Young. He seems like a good guy with a nice personality and a good fit in the clubhouse. He brings a fire and passion to the team and always seems to get on base. A home run from him is always welcome.

7:48- Andrew McCutchen continues the trend and blasts an HR to left field. I had actually called this homerun. With Adam LaRoche on first I was ready for him to score. I figured no time like the present. I said Cutch is due for a dinger and he delievered right on cue. With a   5-0 lead I figured the Pirates had this game in the bag.


– The Phils got on the board with an RBI from Raul Ibanez. This came in the 6th inning where Philly would continue to surge scoring a total of 3 runs.

9:07- The Pirates got 2 more runs here in the 7th in thanks to a handful of miscues by the Philadelphia defense. Garret Jones drew a walk scoring Jack Wilson. Later in the inning Ryan Doumit knocked in McCutchen to earn his first RBI since returning to the big league club.

9:40- With the Pirates in the field and the Philies searching for any form of life at the plate Jack WIlson showcased his glove making a diving, over the shoulder catch in mid left field robbing Shane Victorino of a hit. Being the always aware, always attentive shortstop he is, Wilson flung the ball over to LaRoche at first doubling up Jimmy Rollins. It was an amazing play and sure to be a web gem and top 10 play on tomorrows ESPN broadcasts.

10:00- Matt Capps comes in with a 7-3 lead. I am always weary of these situations. I’m talking baout when a closer is brought in during a non-save situation. Capps had a little breathing room so I was sure he could seal the deal and give the bucs a win.

10:02- Just a few minutes after coming into the game Capps gave up a solo shot to Matt Stairs. I wasn’t worried yet. I like Matt Stairs, he too is a good guy and a fan favorite no matter where he plays. With the Pirates in 2003 he hit 20 homeruns. He leads all current MLBers with 18 pinch hit homeruns.


Ryan Howard steps to the plate with 2 men on and one out. This was the first meeting between Howard and Capps. Howard took advantage of the Big Bull Rider and absolutely blasted a shot over the centerfield fence. With one swing of the bat the game was tied and another chapter was written in Howard’s legacy book.

10:22- Ten minutes later the ball game was over. The bases were loaded and Paul Bako singled to left field scoring Raul Ibanez, who would be the dreadful winning run.


raul.jpgWith the loss the Pirates slip to 11 games under .500. There is little hope for the rest of the season. There is also little hope for the future of Matt Capps. It is inexcuseable for a closer of his nature to blow a game like this. The Bucs recently brought in Joel Hanrahan from the Nationals. I do believe they have plans for him in the pen as a closer here in the near future.

Ryan Doumit performed well in just his second game back from the DL. He was 0-4 in his first game but turned it around tonight with 2 doubles.

Andy LaRoche turned on the jets when he laced a triple in the 8th inning. I did not realize it but it was his 4th triple of the year.

Andrew McCutchen had a heck of a game. He had 2 hits, one being the HR, a stolen base and scored. This is the kind of production we need from him in the leadoff spot.

Virgil Vazquez will square off against J.A. Happ tomorrow for game 3 of the series when Pittsburgh hopes to avoid the sweep.






A first glimpse of Tony Sanchez

For you non-Pittsburgh Pirate fans out there this entry may be somewhat irrelevant. I recently went to Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio-about a 15 minute drive from Youngstown to take in a minor league baseball game.


Eastwood Field is home to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, low class A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Although I have a deep hatred of the Indians I do support the hometown team-the Scrappers. It is always a fun time at the field with wacky promotions and close to the action seats. Over the years a slew of Major League players have played for the Scrappers, most notably:

-Ben Francisco, Ryan Garko, Chris Gimenez, Trevor Crowe, Tony Sipp,and Victor Martinez-all current Inidans

-Ryan Church- outfielder for the Mets

-Kevin Kouzmanoff-infielder for the Padres

-C.C. Sabathia-hurler for the Yankees

It is a good place to go to take in a baseball game and see just drafted young play their hardest to reach the next level.

My trip to the field this week was to see young talent at its finest. The Scrappers were playing the State College Spikes, the farm team of the Pirates. I was there to mostly see Tony Sanchez, the first round pick of the Pirates in this month’s draft. There has been much talk and speculation about Tony. He was named the collegiate catcher of the year and has the batting numbers to prove it. However, he was ranked at about number 30 in terms of talent in the draft. With the 4th overall pick the Pirates nabbed Sanchez. Many pundits felt it was a security issue for the Bucs. They were able to quickly sign him with a contract rather than picking the best available player who may not have signed with the organization. Personally I like what Sanchez has to offer. I’d rather take a position player than a pithcer in any draft. In the Pirates case a position player is usually the right move regardless, we have a long history of pitching busts.

Decked out in my Pirates gear me my dad and my friend Andrew were able to get front row seats right behind the Spikes dugout. The tix were courtesy of my buddy Jared, The Indians fan. He is working as an intern in the Scrappers ticket office for the summer. It is a good gig for him as he is pursuing a career in sports management. The hours are long but he enjoys every second of being around baseball.

We headed down to our seats while the Spikes were warming up. Tony was playing catch with the starting pitcher. He looks like he has a strong arm for a catcher. He has a quick relaease and can really zoom the ball to his target. As he walked towards the dugout I started yelling his name holding up a ball and picture for him to sign. He was very cordial as he signed my items. We were able to have a brief conversation. He seems like a very genuine guy who is legitimately happy to be playing in the organization. He has a nice smile and a nice voice. Female fans around us were intrigued by his good looks. He said he hopes to do his best for a quick rise through the system and cracking the major league roster in the near future.

Here are pictures of my signed items.

san1.jpg I printed this picture off It is Tony at PNC Park for the first time after signing his contract. He was there for a brief press conference and intorduction to his future stomping grounds.








He signed this ball right on the sweet spot without being asked to do so. Big props in my book as most players just carelessly sign any spot.








Tony began the game batting in the 3rd spot in the lineup. A perfect notch for him as he needs to develop into that same spot in the future. He is known to have slight pop in his bat, but not overwhelming power. Hopefully the minor league staff can hone his skills so he can drive the ball deep.

tony sanchez 002.jpgFIRST AB- Tony deleivered a frozen rope shot to right over the shortstops head. It flew off his bat and he was safely aboard with a single. He could have had an RBI on the play but the third base coach held the runner at third. Very discouraging as we booed him for not sending him home. 

SECOND AB- He got bad wood on the ball and slowly dribbled it to the shortstop. The shortstop then stepped on second for a force out. On the throw to first the shortstop threw it in the dirt. Sanchez reached on the error and turned on the jets. He took advanatge of the situation and jetted to second base. The next batter ripped a drive to right field and Tony would come around to score what would be the lone Spikes run of the game.

THIRD AB- A pitch got in on his hands and he wasn’t able to turn on it. It was a roller right at the first baseman who easily stepped on first for the unassisted out

FOURTH AB- In hi slast time up he drilled another shot into left field and recahed with a single.

He finished the game 2-4 with a run scored. Not a bad day at the plate. In the other two game of the series he was help hitless in one but reached base once in the other game. It was a single too and he drove it to where else but left field. He also scored a run in that game after the hit.

Behind the plate Sanchez did a solid job keeping balls in front of him. He had one passed ball but othe rthan that it looks like he will be a big body who can mow down runners and be a solid overall defensive backstop.

tony sanchez 001.jpg As a whole I wa simpressed. Tony is a nice guy and a good face for the Pirates organization. There is a lot of work to be done. He can’t just be a singles hitter. He must add some depth to his batting arsenal. We need power at the big league level and if he works at it Tony can be the bopper we need. (no I am not suggesting steroids)

I wish I could have scouted the Spike better as whole instead of focusing on Tony the whole game. This guy sitting a row behind us was a big Pirate fan from Sharon, PA. He had notes about every player in the lineup and telling me who to look out for. There are some guys who may be able to sneak through the system liek second baseman Brock Holt and firstbaseman Kyle Morgan. There are also some pitchers on the team that have the right stuff-so he says.

In the corwd of 4,000 people a good thousand of them were Pirate fans. Alot of cheers went out for the Spikes.It was nice to hear and nice to give a “Lets Go Bucs” to passers by.

The loudest cheer of the night when the Indians score was announced. The Indians were beating the Pirates 5-0 in the 7th inning. Many people were pumped about that. The Youngstown area is loaded with Tribe fans. Pirates play second fiddle once again. I wa stracking the Pirates game on my cell phone and was very dissapointe din Ian Snell. He was shelled again giving up 5 runs. Things took a turn for the better for the Pirates in the car on the drive home. We tuned in to the radio after the Scrappers game, btw Mahoning Valley downed the Spikes 2-1. It was the ninth inning and the Pirates were scratching back with a 5-2 thanks to an Adam LaRoche homer that landed in the Allegheny River. The Pirates rally continued as Kerry Wood came into the game and started blowing up. The Pirates scored 2 off of Wood. Nyjer Morgan, Andrew McCutchen, Brandon Moss, Jack Wilson and Freddy Sanchez all collected hits in the 2 runs scored. The lineup batted around as Adam stepped up to the plate again. He did not deliever the same heroics as he popped out to right field to end the game. Very dissapointing but I hold my head high after a strong come back. The Bucs did win last night 10-6. Hopefully the offense will be alive again tonight. I will be in attendance at PNC Park for this rubber match between the interleague rivals. 

You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone…


Words can’t describe how weird it is for me to look at that picture and accept the fact that Nate McLouth is no longer a Pittsburgh Pirate. After 10 years with the Pirates organization, McLouth is now playing centerfield for the Atlanta Braves.

I wish Nate all the best in his tenure in Atlanta, chances are he will be there for quite some time. He is under contract for the next 3 years and when the ATL front office realizes how important he is to their team, they should lock him up for an additional 3 or so years. McLouth has the ability to remain a Brave and become quite the legend. He may never be the best of teh best, but keeping up with his solid all-around style of gameplay he will surely never be forgotten when wearing the Blue and Red.

I might be getting a little ahead of myself here just a bit. It is still very tough to swallow after seeing and getting used to this


for the better part of the last 4 years. His boyish face, sheepish grin, and bleach blonde hair have been a staple in the Pirates clubhouse and Pittsburgh community for nearly half a decade. Nate had a program he ran at every game called “Nate’s Lucky 13” He would bring in 13 underpriveleged kids from the urban areas of the Burgh and allow them to take part in the baseball experience. These kids normally would not have a chance to go see a live MLB game so Nate would take it upon himself to show these youths a good time. He took them behind the scenes at PNC Park and down on the field for pre-game warmups. They also recieved good seats and custom T-shirts. Nate is a great guy and a player that the Atlanta community should warm up to as well.

Well enough is enough, he’s gone and he ain’t coming back. Instead of visiting Western, PA, the Pirates trekked to Georgia to take on the Braves in a 4 game series. The opening game of the series was very thrilling going 15 innings. The Pirates wound up losing the game 7-6 in the bottom of the 15th but nonetheless, they stuck in there and never backed down.

The Pirates-McLouth reunion was overshadowed by the fact that Braves manager Bobby Cox earned his 2,000 win as a Brave. McLouth took advantage of his old team by ripping three hits including his first homerun in Atlanta, his tenth of the year.

For Pittsburgh, McLouth’s replacement Andrew McCutchen had quite the noteworthy game as well. Cutch had 4 hits, 2 of which were doubles. In my last entry I vented about how important he needs to be in regard to the future of the Pirates organization. He showed last night that he can be looked to as a form of support and he will carry the torch. Although the Bucs lost he put up them numbers that should have put them in a position to win. It was pretty fitting that McCutchen went off like he did playing against McLouth. 

PHOTO CREDITS: ap photos off 

A Deeper Look Inside…Andrew McCutchen

cutch1.jpgIt has been a while since my last entry in the “A Deeper Look Inside” series, so why not write about the newest (and hottest) Pirate, Andrew McCutchen?


Since being drafted 11th overall by Pittsburgh in the 2005 draft, McCutchen has been watched like a hawk. Buccos fans, front office members and baseball supporters in general long awaited the arrival of this new prodigy.

“Cutch” as he is lovingly referred to as, has risen through the Pirates minor league system alot slower than many fans would have liked. Mind you he is only 22 years old right now, but being drafted as a high schooler at the age of 18, McCutchen needed time to develop and mature, not only as a baseball player, but as a man.

Cutch played for the Hickory Crawdads, Altoona Curve and Indianapolis Indians during his minor league tenure. At each stop along the way Andrew recieved high honors and accolades. He was named the most outstanding major league prospect in 2006 for the SAL League, also in ’06 he was a mid and post season all-star in the SAL. He was also an all-star at the AAA level in Indianapolis.

Andrew is known as a 5-tool player. He has the power, speed, and defensive ability to be an outstanding all around player. Alot of his success over the past handful of years can be attributed to the time he spent in the Arizona Fall League. Many current MLB All-Stars have spent time in the AFL to fine tune their skills in preparation for a big league callup. David Wright, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard all played in the League. It was very beneficial for them because you can see where there are now.

cutch3.jpgFor Cutch to take it upon himslef to join the League andproperly play against fellow competitors shows how much he cares about his own future, as well as the future of the Pirates. His development in the minor leagues and AFL have already paid dividends as he is up in the majors living out every little boys dream.


cutch4.jpgJune 4, 2009 will be a day that will forever live on in Pirates history.

Andrew McCutchen strapped on his black and gold and took teh field at PNC Park. Greeted by a throng of cheers Cutch did not let the bright lights faze him as he went 2-4 with an RBI and stolen base in his major league debut. Since his first game he has also delievered quite well.

Through four games he is batting .333 with 6 hits and4 RBI. His biggest game came against the Astros on Sunday June 7th. The rookie went 3-5 with 1 RBI. He continues to drive the ball to the outfield and blaze around the basepaths with tremendous speed. With Nyjer Morgan and Cutch at the top of the lineup the Bucs have what could be one of the fastest outfield units in the majors. Brandon Moss plays an above average right field and has carralled in his fair share of clutch plays.

PNC Park has a wide open outfield and with Andrew as teh chief in center, opposing teams better adjust their game plans, no ball is dropping in.

Only time will tell to see if Andrew will pan out. Will he be somebody the Pirates can build around? Will he be just a basic lead-off hitter? Can he generate some pop and give the Pirates a much needed deep ball threat? Only time will tell.

There is alot of weight being placed on Andrew McCutchen’s shoulders. He is assuming a starting role and filling in the shoes of Nate McLouth. Bucco fans were deeply affected by the trade of McLouth. He was our best hitter and threat at the plate. He too was fast on the base paths and a top notch center fielder. We knew all along what we had in Cutch, but just thought Nate and Drew would be in the outfield together. The best lasi plans of mice and men often go awry and they surely did in the case of the Pirates future. Whether it will be a step forward or a step back, once again, only time will tell.


cutch5.jpgCutch has a certain poise and swagger about him that just screams success. He has a proven track record and teh ability to change a team for the better. The Pirates need a change to break out of their 16 years of losing and McCutchen is the torpedo that will crack the iceberg. If he is as good as advertised, the front office of the Bucs must then be the ones who have to live up to the pressure. The Pirates have long been known to develop their players then trade them when they become stars (ie: Brian Giles, Jason Bay, Nate McLouth etc). To break out of teh negativce image the front office must show loyalty and dedication to not just themselves but to the players and fans of Pittsburgh. They must be able to keep McCutchen in good graces and develop the personnel aroudn him. They can do it, theres no doubt about that, I wouldn’t be writing this blog if I truly didn’t believe that. McCutchen is a sign of things to come and hope on the horizon.



The Future is NOW

I’m loving the props on the mlblogs home page. Matt Weiters got some recognition for making his debut and now Andrew McCutchen graces the cover.

As we all know by now Nate McLouth was traded to the Braves in exchange for prospects. The dust has finally settled and the fact that hes gone has set in. Fans and players alike were equally shocked and held in disbelief by the trade. In this article off, Pirates players vent about their frustrations with the front office.

Its good to see the players have so much dedication for a teammate. It shows that the players here in Pittsburgh strive to do the best they can to give the fans something to cheer about. I think the team will be brought closer together with the events that occured and pull it all together.

But the sun will always rise and it surely did yesterday afternoon in Pittsburgh.


Cutch is here and the future surely is NOW.

McCutchen impressed on his opening day going 2-4 with and RBI. He showcased his speed by stealing a base an scoring two runs. He along with Nyjer Morgan both celebrated the day and showed the Mets that speed definately kills as the Bucs downed the Metropolitans 11-6.

Jon from the Mc Effect was at the game and had the time of his life. He has a nice rundown of the days events over on his blog, be sure to check it out. 

The Pirates are now inching closer and closer to that coveted .500 mark. WIth a new sense of identity and Cutch the boy wonder in teh lineup on an everyday basis watch for Pittsburgh to deliever and prove to the baseball world that they can win.

After Day 1 of the McCutchen project PNC Park was able to


We tied the AL Champs!

Well nothing to be too proud of, didn’t get the W but still a solid performance. I was digging the lineup today…

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Jose Tabata (LF)
  3. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  4. Craig Monroe (RF)
  5. Steve Pearce (1B)
  6. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  7. Brian Bixler (SS)
  8. Luis Cruz (2B)
  9. Jason Jaramillo (C)

Talk about a glimpse of the future. Cutch, Tabata, Pearce, An. LaRoche, Jaramillo.

All guys that could/will be starters by next season.

Of course I always like to see Monroe out there. Getting a position spot in the field is something new to him this spring. It was good to see him out there getting used to the grass and running down balls. I’m sticking to my guns and saying he will be a starter come opening day.