Pirates notebook: Rodriguez's comfort level with teammates grows
By Rob Biertempfel
Published: Tuesday, March 26, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
DUNEDIN, Fla. — Wandy Rodriguez has been a blur in the clubhouse, always on the move from his locker to the field to the players' lunchroom, slapping backs and smiling.
“He looks like a kid at Little League practice again,” manager Clint Hurdle said.
It's a sharp contrast to Rodriguez's introverted demeanor a few months ago after he arrived via a trade with Houston. Rodriguez had spent the previous 13 years in the Astros' system, and he was uneasy about joining a new team.
“Wandy is more relaxed than he was last year when he got here,” right-hander A.J. Burnett said.
Burnett also was a newcomer last season, but he made a smoother transition than Rodriguez. Burnett has always been a clubhouse scamp, firing Nerf guns and cracking jokes.
Rodriguez and Burnett are emerging as leaders in different ways.
“There was a language barrier (for Wandy), and trying to perform as a midseason acquisition,” pitcher Jeff Karstens said. “I think a year of him being comfortable now is good. Those two guys bring two different kinds of leadership — one guy who's more quiet and another who's vocal. A.J. If you're not doing something you should be doing, A.J. is going to let you know. That's something we've lacked in the past.”
Root Sports will televise 151 games. It also will partner with MLB Network for five early-season games — April 13, 17, 19, 20 and 22 — that will be available in the Pittsburgh area.
The Pirates are slated to appear in six Fox national broadcasts: May 4, June 1, June 29, July 13, July 20 and Aug. 17. Of those games, all but the July 20 game at Cincinnati will be played at PNC Park.
Pie opens eyes
Outfielder Felix Pie would seem to be a long shot to beat out Jose Tabata and Alex Presley to win a bench job. But don't count him out for getting playing time in the majors at some point this summer.
Pie has nine hits in his past 20 at-bats. His fifth-inning single Tuesday boosted his Grapefruit League batting average to .318. A former top prospect with the Chicago Cubs, Pie spent 2009-11 with the Baltimore Orioles and also has played in Cleveland's and Atlanta's farm systems.
“Felix has had a very good camp,” Hurdle said. “This is a guy who's traveled a lot. He's been challenged. He played winter ball and came in sharp; he was game-ready. Everything we've asked him to do, he's done.”
Around the horn
Noah Bendix-Balgley, violinist and concertmaster of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, will perform the national anthem on Opening Day at PNC Park. ... Andrew McCutchen is included in MLB's latest marketing campaign, “I Play.” Commercial spots began airing last weekend on ESPN and MLB Network.
Six minor leaguers were released Tuesday: right-handers Zach Foster, Logan Pevny, Nate Kilcrease and Jordan Cooper; and left-handers Josh Poytress and Michael Jefferson. Foster is a Pitt-Bradford product who was drafted in 2008.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates claim 3 pitchers in minor league Rule 5 draft
- Pirates agree with Barmes on 1-year deal
- Pirates not yet talking extensions with Alvarez, Walker
- First base options thinning as winter meetings go on
- Pirates sign free agent pitcher Volquez
- Pirates sign Morton to 3-year extension
- Pirates notebook: Polanco ruled out as Opening Day option
- Ex-Pirates great Parker’s long wait for Hall of Fame could finally end
- Breaking down the Pirates’ needs entering winter meetings
- Pirates will shop while starting pitcher Burnett makes his decision