Pirates owner Bob Nutting showed up in Bradenton today and spoke with the media after addressing players and staff prior to workouts.
And what, pray tell, did he talk to his players about?
“It’s critically important that they understand, and we all understand, that 2011 is not going to be a year where small bits of incremental progress are adequate,” Nutting said. “I reminded them that the goal of the organization has been, since the day I got started, to build an organization that can compete and win a championship. Until we can win a National League championship, we’re not going to be satisfied with incremental progress.”
And why should they be? After all, they added Lyle Overbay, Kevin Correia and Scott Olsen to a team that won 57 games in 2010. This is pretty clearly their year.
While newly-acquired talent Danny Espinosa was off collecting hits for the Blue Jays against the Orioles, Marcus Stroman led a youth-filled roster against the Canadian Junior National Team in a split-squad game on Saturday. In the eighth inning, 17-year-old Canadian pitcher Braden Halladay took the mound to honor his late father’s memory against his former team.
Halladay accomplished just that, wielding a fastball that topped out in the low-80s and setting down a perfect 1-2-3 inning against the top of the lineup. No one batter saw more than a single pitch from the right-hander: Mc Gregory Contreras and Mattingly Romanin flew out to the outfield corners and Bo Bichette laid down a ground ball for an easy third out.
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has a fantastic profile of the high school junior, including his approach to the game and his attempt to do Roy Halladay proud while carving out his own path to the majors. “From a pitching standpoint, it was everything I could have asked for and more,” Halladay told reporters. “Especially now, every time I make mistakes, I still hear him drilling me about them in my head, just because he’s done it so many times before. From a mind-set standpoint, I don’t think with any bias that I could have had a better teacher.”