Well, time to take care of the Pirates preview, but before I do that a couple quick workout notes:
Wed- Swim at the pool with Beth. My goggles strap snapped, so I had to spend some of my limited time (need to leave the house by 6:45am to get to school on time) rigging up my strap so the goggles would work. I ended up only doing 9x100yd, each one around 2:00. The intervals were 2x2:35, 2x2:30, 2x2:25, 2x2:20, and 2:15.
Today, Beth did the Masters swim in the morning, so I took the am off and saved my working out for the track team. We did 6x(hill acceleration & power skip) about 100 yds. Then, we did some stepper drills I'll explain some other time.
Okay, on to the preview. Since I broke down the team on Sunday morning, a lot of the roster had been finalized. So, I'll shift my preview to more on the roles for the season instead of who will make the 25 man roster.
So, the probable starting lineup:
1. CF Nate McLouth - finally in his starting role; he has a little pop for a CF and is fundamentally sound in the OF and the basepaths
2. 2B Freddy Sanchez - Hopefully his shoulder cooperates. It's been a little cranky since off-season surgery. It hasn't affected his hitting as he's batting .350 this spring, but he can't throw it 100%. Fortunately, there aren't many hard throws from 2B
3. LF Jason Bay - Coming off a TERRIBLE 2nd half of the year (mostly due to a bad knee), he needs to rebound to his .300 avg, 30 HR, 100 RBI form. He's a likely candidate to be traded if the Pirates falter
4. 1B Adam LaRoche - He should have a better season after only hitting .200 through the first two months of the season.
5. RF Xavier Nady - Another candidate to be traded. He's healthy (hamstring among other things) and hit well when he was healthy last year.
6. 3B Jose Bautista - This is his season to make it or break it. Only 15 HR and a .254 average isn't enough for a corner power bat. He did have a strong second half of the year after finally getting comfortable with his new batting approach.
7. C Ronny Paulino/Ryan Doumit - Doumit's the much better offensive option, but he's had hamstring and other issues to keep him off the field. Paulino, after hitting .300 in 2006 and mashing the ball in 2007 spring training, he had a TERRIBLE season. I'll be curious how the at bats play out for these two.
8.SS Jack Wilson - From somewhere around August 1, he was one of the top hitters in the major leagues. He hit around .400. Hopefully he can do that
9. P (Snell, Gorzelanny, Maholm, Morris, and Duke) - Snell had a great year last year with 208 IP and 177 K's. Gorzo looks better and better, so we'll see if he can rise up to the next level. Maholm, a former 1st round pick, could be the key pitcher. Morris, making $10million this year, looked TERRIBLE this spring- I'm not looking forward to his starts. Duke is a man on a mission this spring looking to return to his 8-2 and 1.81 ERA from 2005. We'll see if it continues in the regular season.
Relievers, bench, and future players to come in future posts....