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by Zane Heiple

Photo by Grant Jefferies/Bradenton Herald
The Pittsburgh Pirates may have had a few holes to fill this off-season, but none were bigger than those at the corner infield positions.  Pedro Alvarez may still be the front runner and future of the third base position, but has yet to show that he intends to be the superstar one would expect from a number one draft pick.  Across the infield first base has been a huge question mark for many years with the Pirates and they still do not appear to have the long term answer to who will fill that position.  That is why Pittsburgh went out and traded for Casey McGehee.  McGehee is capable of playing both positions, is young, and if he can play more like he did his first two seasons in the Majors, will definitely give the Pirates the pop in the lineup we all are looking for.
Today McGehee started at third base and defensively looked like someone who has played the position for years.  The second inning alone made him look like a gold glove caliber player.  The first out came on a ground ball that appeared to head down the line, but with english on the ball, it began to spin towards the hole into short.  Casey was able to stop pick up the ball and gun the runner out at first.  He would then record the final out of the inning by diving to prevent a ball from going to the outfield and throw the runner out.  Offensively he showed signs of regaining that early career form going 3-3 with an RBI.
Erik Bedard had a great day on the bump for the Buccos as he would go three innings allowing one hit with three strikeouts.  If Bedard can build on starts like today he should be considered as an option to start on opening day.  Nate McClouth also looked like his old self today going 2-2 with a walk at the plate.  Chase d’Arnaud would collect a hit and an RBI today.  Joel “The Hammer” Hanrahan looked lights out again striking out two in an inning of work.
Unfortunately there were some signs that this was a spring training game.  McClouth would be caught stealing twice today, Rod Barajas was thrown out going from second to home on a ball that was hit to the outfield wall, and with the bases loaded and no outs Pittsburgh managed only one run.  Jo Jo Reyes had a rough outting allowing four runs on five hits while striking out two and walking one in three innings of work.  These mistakes were big factors in the Pirates losing to the Minnesota Twins 4-2.
Neil Walker is said to be back in action tomorrow as the Pirates will head to Port Charlotte to take on the Tampa Bay Rays tomorrow at 1:05.  It was also reported that A.J. Burnett has been cleared to begin working out, as he looks to get back on track to recovering from an orbital fracture.
Grapefruit League Record:  3-5
And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!