Pirates notebook: On second thought, Volquez prefers Bucs
By Rob Biertempfel
Published: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014, 6:12 p.m.
BRADENTON, Fla. — The Pirates tried to acquire Edinson Volquez last August, but he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. When the right-hander became a free agent this offseason, the Pirates did not hesitate.
“When San Diego put me on waivers (last year), the Pirates called right away,” Volquez said Wednesday. “This winter, they called again. I thought, ‘They must really want me, so let's do it.' ”
Volquez, 30, agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal in December during the winter meetings and is expected to hold down the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation. This week, he is working out with his new teammates during minicamp at Pirate City.
In 2008, Volquez racked up 17 wins with a 3.21 ERA for the Cincinnati Reds. Over the next three seasons, however, he had a total of 13 wins and a 5.01 ERA. Volquez was traded to the Padres before the 2012 season.
Volquez struggled again last season but rebounded slightly after hooking up with the Dodgers.
“The pitching coach there (Rick Honeycutt) is pretty good,” Volquez said.
Honeycutt tweaked Volquez's mechanics and got him to stay closed during his delivery. That helped Volquez cut his walk rate almost in half.
After seeing Francisco Liriano and A.J. Burnett undergo rebirths with the Pirates, Volquez said he hopes to find some of that magic for himself.
“What I hear about the Pirates pitching coaches and the pitching staff is pretty good,” Volquez said. “So, why not take a chance to come here and maybe get better?”
An old ‘new' logo
The gold capital “P” that was used last season on the black caps has been adopted as the team's official primary logo. The Pirates considered redesigning the “Jolly Roger” logo with the team name in script, which was introduced in 1997, but scrapped those plans after getting feedback from focus groups.
“While the ‘P' was not (originally) designated as our primary logo, it has been a part of our brand for more than 100 years and, more recently, the focus of our branding efforts,” team spokesman Brian Warecki said. “This change will continue to strengthen that brand identity.”
The Jolly Roger, without the lettering, will remain on the uniform sleeves.
Around the horn
Left-hander Jeff Locke said he is following his normal offseason training routine. Locke was bothered by a sore back in July, then was ineffective in the second half of the season and shut down in late September. ... Righty Charlie Morton recently bought a home near Bradenton and trains at Pirate City year-round. “When I was younger, the offseason was the offseason,” Morton said. “I didn't really take it too seriously when I was 19, 20 years old. But you start to learn that you have to work, you have to dedicate yourself, you have to become professional. Here we are, 10 years later, and I've learned a lot. You get out of it what you put into it.” ... The players at minicamp gathered to watch the Auburn-Florida State game Monday. Thursday, they will drive to Tampa to attend the Lightning game against the Washington Capitals.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
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