Notes: Pitchers' schedules set
Gorzelanny will start in the Grapefruit League opener Thursday
BRADENTON, Fla. -- It was like a scene from back in junior high, when kids would eagerly run over to the bulletin board to look at the team's roster and see if they had made the cut.
That same type of crowd gathered around the bulletin board outside the clubhouse early Monday at Pirate City to take a look at the newest thing pinned to the corkboard.
No, it had nothing to do with cuts. But game-day pitching schedules had been posted and that was enough to draw the attention of nearly every pitcher who walked by.
Manager John Russell and pitching coach Jeff Andrews released their plans on how and when each of the 38 pitchers at camp will be used, beginning with Wednesday's charity game and going through March 7.
One of the first things to pop off that paper -- Tom Gorzelanny would be making the start for the team's first Grapefruit League game this Thursday. When Russell was then asked if this suggested that Gorzelanny would be in line to make the Pirates' start on Opening Day, Russell stoically responded, "Who's on there?"
In other words, don't start reading too much into the order and schedule of the pitchers just yet.
"There's no hidden agenda," Russell continued. "It's just getting guys prepared for the season. Once we get into camp, we'll start making determinations."
Considering his emergence as the staff ace in 2007, Gorzelanny would seem to be the presumed frontrunner for the start against Atlanta on March 31. However, with the way the initial two groups of pitchers were structured for the their bullpen sessions, it falls best for Gorzelanny and Ian Snell to be the starters in the club's first two Grapefruit League games.
After Gorzleanny and Snell go on Thursday and Friday, respectfully, the spring rotation will have Zach Duke pitching on Saturday, Paul Maholm on Sunday and Matt Morris on Monday. Each will pitch two innings in their starts. In their second starts of the spring, that workload will be increased to three innings per start for each starter.
Russell suggested that an order for the rotation will be determined somewhere around the midway point of next month, which will allow the starters ample time to get on schedule for their first start of the regular season.
"I think we have a unique staff in that there are lefties and righties," Russell said. "We'll set our rotation in a way that we feel like the team has the best chance of success. Right now, you're just trying to get innings in the bag for pitchers and getting them comfortable."
In addition to the five starters, Bryan Bullington, Sean Burnett, John Van Benschoten, Jimmy Barthmaier, T.J. Bean, Ty Taubenheim and Yoslan Herrera will all pitch two innings in their first Grapefruit League appearances.
Because Damaso Marte fell behind in his throwing program after a bout with the flu, he is scheduled to make his first game appearance next Monday in the team's "B" game.
Herrera will start the Pirates' game against Manatee Community College on Wednesday. He will be relieved by Ronald Belisario, Marino Salas, Josh Sharpless, Dave Davidson, Jonah Bayliss, Daniel Moskos and Brian Rogers, all of whom will pitch one inning of work.
Easing in: After finalizing a deal with the club on Sunday, Byung-Hyun Kim took part in his first workout with the team on Monday. The right-hander threw long toss on Monday and will do so on Tuesday, since he is behind on his throwing program.
Kim is then scheduled to throw light side sessions on both Wednesday and Friday before throwing batting practice on Monday and Thursday of next week. Andrews expects Kim to be ready to pitch in Grapefruit League games around March 9.
Searage says: It's been 11 straight days of fielding practice for the team's pitchers, so it would be understandable if the monotony would have some simply going through the motions. However, that wasn't the case on Field 4, where Ray Searage, who has moved up to be the organization's Triple-A pitching coach this season, was leading a drill.
With his group repeating the technique of fielding bunts and throwing to first, Searage kept the drill light and entertaining with his constant chatter. Here's a sampling -- and an interpretation -- of the sounds from the field:
"Any smoother and you'd be on a bagel!" -- Searge, to Morris after Morris' seamless transition of the ball from his glove to throwing hand.
"I was just hoping you'd be able to redirect. You were coming right at me!" -- Searage, to the 6-foot-5, 255-pound Taubenheim as Taubenheim raced toward both Searage and the ball. On Taubenheim's next attempt, Searage took two steps back.
"Outstanding! I want to be like you guys when I grow up." -- Searage, as the group of pitchers walked off the field.
Dining with the Governor: Pirates president Frank Coonelly and a number of members of the front office and management staff will be attending the Governor's Dinner at Tropicana Field on Tuesday. Put on by Florida Governor Charlie Crist, all 18 Major League clubs which hold Spring Training in the Sunshine State have been invited to attend. The Pirates are expected to send about 20 people to the event.
Bucs bits: Numerous players took time on Monday to film public service announcements that will be used on the PNC Park scoreboard during the season. ... Freddy Sanchez (shoulder) threw at near full effort from a distance of 90 feet for the second straight day. However, during infield drills, he limited his throws to about 75-percent effort. ... Chris Duffy (shoulder) did not participate with other outfielders while the team practiced relay throws from the outfield to home plate. ... Phil Dumatrait, Bullington and Gorzelanny all threw side sessions on Monday. ... In addition to a "B" game on Friday, the Pirates have also scheduled a "B" game for next Monday. That game will take place in Clearwater, Fla.
Quotable: "Isn't it ironic that the eye exams are taking place in the umpires' room?" -- Andrews
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.