Pirates notebook: Maddon sees comparisons between 2014 Bucs, 2009 Rays
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon sees similarities between his Rays team of 2009 and the Pirates of this spring.
Why is that significant?
The Rays were coming off their first winning season in franchise history and have followed with five consecutive winning seasons despite also being challenged by their low payroll in a division with powerful rivals.
“They have some veterans on the field now. I think it's a combination of youth and veterans, kind of what we tried to do a couple years ago,” Maddon said. “It's really nice when you can build around the best player in baseball in center field.”
That player, of course, is Andrew McCutchen. The Rays have their own franchise centerpiece on a club-friendly deal in Evan Longoria.
“(McCutchen) might be the best player right now. If I had a vote, I might vote him No. 1,” Maddon said. “Beyond that, I'm seeing some other things like that pitcher (Thursday), (Bryan Morris), is he that good? I've never seen him before. That was impressive. We had bad swings all days on these guys.”
Morris struck out three Rays in two perfect innings of relief work. The Pirates' bullpen allowed just one baserunner in 6 2⁄3 shutout inings in relief of Jeanmar Gomez.
Of course no one, including Maddon, said it would be easy to repeat.
“You have a bigger target on your back than before,” Maddon said. “You don't sneak up on anyone, and everyone knows that you're good. Thus you really have to be able to answer the bell regarding the higher level of play from the other side (directed) toward you. ... It's a mindset. It's no more work.”
Armed and ready
Phil Irwin (elbow) returned to throw one shutout inning in relief against Tampa on Thursday. Jeff Locke (oblique) said he feels healthy and has had no setbacks in his recovery, but has not been made aware of a timetable to return.
‘Buc Night' returns
The Pirates announced their 7:05 p.m. April 2 home game against the Cubs will feature “Buc Night” promotions, which includes $1 seats in select sections and $1 hot dogs. For more information, visit Pirates.com/BucNight, or call 1-877-893-2827.
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 notebook: Worley bounces back after rough start
- About face: Pirates’ Burnett now digging the shifts
- Spring training breakdown: Braves 7, Pirates 5
- Forbes: Pirates worth $900 million
- Hair Cutch: Pirates superstar lops off his locks for charity
- Pirates notebook: RV is home to pitcher Lincoln for spring training
- McCutchen says injury won’t prevent him from playing Opening Day
- Reliever Caminero’s chances of making Pirates’ roster heating up
- Pirates notebook: McCutchen says he’s ‘glad’ to be on field
- Alvarez hopes tweak in mechanics unlocks plate potential
- Starting 9: Minor league options can lead to March roster madness