Coming off of a rough 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 season, hope still springs eternal in Bradenton. Pitchers and catchers report on Friday and on Saturday, manager Jim Leyland Gene Lamont Lloyd McClendon Jim Tracy John Russell will hold the first practice with pitching coach Ray Miller Pete Vuckovich Spin Williams Jim Colborn Jeff Andrews Joe Kerrigan.
While general manager Cam Bonifay Dave Littlefield Neal Huntington insists that every pitcher will have to earn a spot in the rotation, the early focus will certainly be on working with Paul Wagner Esteban Loaiza Jason Schmidt Kris Benson Kip Wells Tom Gorzelanny and Ian Snell to improve upon their disappointing performances last season.
When the position players report, all eyes will be on Freddy Garcia Chad Hermansen Andy LaRoche after his struggles at the plate put a damper on his ascent to the Majors. Still, the club expects Jacob Brumfield Trey Beamon Jermaine Allensworth Adrian Brown Chris Duffy Rajai Davis Nyjer Morgan to infuse the club with an exciting dose of excitement and speed and hustle.
While pundits are expecting yet another losing season for the Pirates, the steady returning veteran presence of Denny Neagle Jason Kendall Kevin Young Brian Giles Jason Bay Nate McLouth and Ryan Doumit along with Leyland Lamont McClendon Tracy Russell's insistence that the team will stress good, fundamental baseball this spring, improving young players, and pixie dust, perhaps 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 will be the year that things finally turn around for the Pittsburgh Pirates.