BRADENTON, Fla. — We were treated to another exciting afternoon of baseball and sunshine from the Grapefruit League on Monday for day three of our trip to Spring Training with the Pirates.
Curve broadcaster Trey Wilson back with you to recap our day down in Florida, and it was a busy one.
The Pirates faced the New York Yankees for the second straight day, this time at LECOM Park in Bradenton. The Bucs cruised to a 13-1 win. More on that in a little bit.
We had a chance to catch up with a handful of players through out the day, including one of the guys receiving quite a bit of attention on Monday. Former Curve first baseman Josh Bell (2014-15) was playing in his first game of the spring after having surgery on his knee.
“I felt great,” Bell said after wrapping up his day. “It was good being able to get back in the box for the first time in a while for live game at-bat situations.”
Bell went 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout on the afternoon and played defensively at first base.
:”I was able to get a lot of good work in with Joey Cora and Kevin Young over the last few weeks,” Bell said. “I feel really comfortable. I am excited to get more repetitions.”
Bell also joined us to work on a special announcement for the 2017 Curve season, which we will announce later this week.
2015 Curve MVP Max Moroff is once again in big league camp this year. He spent most of last season with the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians, but did get a brief taste of life in the big leagues in the middle of the summer.
“It was a dream come true,” Moroff said. “I got the call around 11 a.m. (Indianapolis manager) Dean Treanor called me and talked to me a little story. Then he said I was going the big leagues.
“I asked him if he was serious, and he said he was. ‘Pack your bags, you’re heading to Milwaukee tomorrow.'”
He was officially called up on July 31 and played that night against the Brewers at Miller Park.
“I remember when I got there, I just walked around on the field,” Moroff said. “No one was out there. The stadium was huge. It was a dream come true.”
It was a short trip to the big leagues for Moroff, He was optioned back to Triple-A a few days later without seeing action in another game. But he is back at work this spring in major league camp trying to earn a spot on the Pittsburgh roster for 2017.
“It was sweet to get up there,” Moroff said. “That’s where I ultimately want to be.”
As for the game on Monday afternoon, the Pirates cruised by the Yankees. Austin Meadows helped open things up early with a two-run double, Elias Diaz had a pair of hits and drove in a run, and Jordy Mercer helped set the tone with a rocket solo home run in the third.
After entering as a pinch hitter in the fifth, Erich Weiss had three hits, drove in two runs and scored twice.
Former Curve skipper and current Pirates’ bench coach Tom Prince managed the team again on Monday while Hurdle is away from the club.
Prince praised the assistance from some of the minor league players on Monday after the 12-run win.
“They work their tales off,” Prince said. “They’re always ready to go in the games.”
That’s it for today’s post from Bradenton. The Pirates are at LECOM Park again tomorrow to face the Atlanta Braves.
Talk to y’all tomorrow!