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Pirates notebook: Pena has emotional return to Pirate City

Rob Biertempfel
| Wednesday, March 8, 2017, 6:51 p.m.

BRADENTON, Fla. — Tony Pena this week went back to Pirate City for the first time since he played for the Pirates in the 1980s.

“I spent all of my young life there,” Pena said. “I signed with the Pirates when I was 18, and I left the organization when I was 29.”

Thirty-one years later, Pena is manager of the the Dominican Republic's team in the World Baseball Classic. The DR on Wednesday beat the Pirates, 10-6, at LECOM Park, which was called McKechnie Field when Pena played for the Pirates from 1980-86.

“There are a lot of memories,” Pena said. “Not only here at this field. Go to Pirate City, where I grew up.”

The old Pirate City sometimes is remembered by former players as being like a dumpy roadside motel. The dorm rooms were small and sparse, and the workout equipment was low-tech.

The DR team held its training camp at a vastly different Pirate City. A series of renovations added a two-story performance center, new practice fields, expanded clubhouses and comfortable dorms and offices.

“I worked there (on Monday) and looked around the whole complex,” Pena said. “Tears started coming out of my eyes.”

Glasnow scuffles

Right-hander Tyler Glasnow pitched 21⁄3 innings and gave up six runs on five hits and four walks. After giving up one run in 22⁄3 innings over his first two outings, Glasnow's ERA shot up to 10.50.

“I beat myself, for sure,” Glasnow said. “The first two (innings), I fared pretty well. I had a lot of offspeed stuff working. That last inning got away from me a little bit.”

All four of the walks came in the sixth inning. During that inning, the physical therapist went out to check him on him.

“I'm not sure (why),” Glasnow said. “I'm good, though.”

Manager Clint Hurdle said pitching coach Ray Searage “thought he saw something” with Glasnow and sent out the therapist.

“Obviously, there was nothing to be seen,” Hurdle said, “so it basically was a wasted trip.”

Planet of the aches

Head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk said reliever Jason Stoffel's comeback from shoulder discomfort is “stuck” in strength-and-conditioning mode. “We have ceased throwing out to 60 feet at this point,” Tomczyk said. ... Infielder Jason Rogers (right ankle) resumed limited baseball activity, including throwing on flat ground and hitting off a tee. It will be at least another seven to 10 days before he resumes running and agility drills. ... Right-hander Casey Sadler (elbow surgery) is expected to pitch in a game for the first time later this week. ... Righty Brandon Cumpton (elbow, shoulder surgeries) has progressed to throwing off the slope. ... Righty Ivan Nova has no restrictions after taking a liner off his chest and right hand in his last start. Nova threw a side session without problems.

Back to their roots

When the Pirates play the St. Louis Cardinals in Williamsport this summer, Jared Hughes and Tony Watson can reconnect with the town where they began their pro careers.

On Thursday, MLB is expected to announce the Aug. 20 game that was originally set for PNC Park will be moved to BB&T Ballpark at Bowman Field in Williamsport. The big league event will help mark the 70th anniversary of the Little League World Series.

Bowman Field is the home of the short-season Class A Williamsport Crosscutters, who were a Pirates affiliate from 1999-2006.

“When I got sent out from (rookie camp) in Bradenton after I signed (in 2006), I went straight to Williamsport,” Hughes said. “I was like, ‘OK, here I am in pro ball. This is pretty awesome.' ”

Hughes made five appearances for Williamsport before being promoted to Low-A Hickory.

When Watson was drafted in 2007, Williamsport had switched its affiliation to the Philadelphia Phillies. However, Watson's first outing with short-season Class A State College happened at Bowman Field.

“Very fond memories,” Watson said. “It's a very cozy park.”

Bowman Field, which opened in 1926, is the second-oldest operating minor league ballpark in the country and is undergoing a $1.25 million renovation. The first phase of improvements reduced capacity from about 4,000 seats to 2,500.

Fans who already bought tickets to the Aug. 20 game at PNC Park will receive refunds. The Pirates will be compensated an undisclosed amount by MLB to make up for the lost revenue from surrendering a home date.

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

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