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Pirates notebook: Prince maintains routine while filling in for Hurdle

| Sunday, March 5, 2017, 6:36 p.m.

TAMPA — Serving as the Pirates' acting manager for two games does not dramatically alter bench coach Tom Prince's spring training routine.

In Sunday's 3-2 loss against the New York Yankees, Prince filled in for Clint Hurdle, who left camp to attend the funeral of a close friend. Hurdle is expected to rejoin the team Tuesday.

“I still do the same things,” Prince said. “(Dave) Jauss has helped me out tremendously. We prepare and go about our business.”

When Hurdle shook up his staff in October, Jauss was moved from bench coach to major league coach. Prince, who was the minor league field coordinator, was promoted to bench coach.

“I'm just getting back in the swing of different things (as bench coach),” Prince said. “I've had a lot of fun doing it. Figuring out ... the daily schedule, the meetings, the fundamentals, where everything is placed. It's a lot of the same stuff you learn when you're field coordinator, but it's different over here when you're down to two fields (in big league camp).”

Prince spent 11 years as a minor league manager, most recently with Double-A Altoona in 2015. He played 17 seasons in the majors, including seven with the Pirates.

Price could be a top candidate to succeed Hurdle, who is signed through the 2017 season. Two weeks ago, Pirates chairman Bob Nutting said a contract extension for Hurdle is “not at issue at this point.”

Taillon cruises

Jameson Taillon threw two scoreless innings and did not allow a ball to leave the infield. He then made about 20 tosses in the bullpen to get his pitch count up to 45.

“My transition to three innings next time will be easy,” Taillon said. “My two-seam wasn't playing as well in my last start. The rest of the spring, throwing strike one and power two-seamers down in the zone will be huge for me.”

Taillon used a great pitch sequence with his fastball and sinker to dominate Chris Carter (swinging strikeout) and Jacoby Ellsbury (pop-up).

“I threw (Carter) a couple four-seams away to him, then a two-seam in to finish,” Taillon. “I threw Ellsbury a two-seam off the plate, getting a checked swing for a strike, then a four-seam up and in for the pop-up.

“When it's working, those are the kind of sequences you can do: two-seam, four-seam, two-seam, four-seam, back and forth. It'll get him looking a certain way or looking for a certain pitch, then I can throw a four-seam that can kind of ride through the zone. It makes everything play better.”

Time to go

Francisco Cervelli went 0 for 2 as the designated hitter in his final game before leaving to join Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic.

“I'm ready,” Cervelli said. “Bye-bye. Let's make it happen.”

This is the second WBC for Cervelli. He grew up in Veneduela, but his father is Italian.

Cervelli said the native Italians — the non-MLB players — on the team are inspiring.

“People don't know about the Italian team,” Cervelli said. “The desire, the passion and the pride they take, just to be in the clubhouse and to be playing against (major league) monsters. They're not scared. They know what they're doing.”

Josh Harrison (USA), Andrew McCutchen (USA), Gregory Polaco (Dominican Republic), Starling Marte (DR) and Eric Wood (Canada) also are off to the tournament.

McCutchen said splitting his training time between two camps won't be a problem.

“If anything, it's kind of awesome,” McCutchen said. “You get to train with some guys you'd otherwise never get to train with.”

The Team USA roster is an all-star mix that includes Paul Goldschmidt, Buster Posey, Adam Jones, Andrew Miller, Giancarlo Stanton and Jonathan Lucroy.

“I'm looking forward to hanging out with those guys,” McCutchen said.

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates bench coach Tom Prince hits infield practice before a game against the Yankees Sunday, March 5, 2017, at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. Prince was the acting mananger for the game.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon delivers during the first inning against the Yankees Sunday, March 5, 2017, at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates bench coach Tom Prince is greeted by Yankees manager Joe Girardi as they meet with the umpires before their game Sunday, March 5, 2017, at Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla. Prince was acting manager for the game.
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