Spring Synopsis: Four players have escape clauses

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- Notes, quotes and anecdotes from the Pirates' spring training ...

Day 11: The Pirates worked out for two hours yesterday under sparse clouds and 72-degree temperatures at Pirate City. The day was shorter than usual because only three pitchers, including Tom Gorzelanny, threw off a mound.

Drills included catchers throwing to second, baserunning, rundowns and short hops for infielders. Steve Pearce made more than one fine pick at first base.

Today: The final day at Pirate City -- camp shifts to McKechnie Field tomorrow for the annual charity game against Manatee Community College -- will see 11 pitchers on the mound, including Damaso Marte's first throws to hitters. The workout begins at 10 a.m.

Yoslan Herrera will pitch the first two innings against Manatee. Among the seven pitchers scheduled to follow him is Danny Moskos, the first-round draft pick last summer, making his debut in a Pirates uniform. The game starts at 12:05 p.m.

Camp roster: 67, with 38 pitchers, 8 catchers, 13 infielders and 8 outfielders.

Byung-Hyun Kim, wearing No. 87, participated in all drills in his first workout, but will not pitch until a side session Friday. His first game action is tentatively projected for March 8 or 9.

Injury updates: Second baseman Freddy Sanchez (shoulder) ramped up his throwing, to about three-quarters strength, in infield drills.

Battle lines: If any of the Pirates' former first-round picks still seeking jobs in the majors -- Bryan Bullington, John Van Benschoten and Sean Burnett -- are to crack the staff, it appears that will happen as a starter or, much more likely, a long reliever.

Those three were among a select few pitchers besides the five anointed starters to be scheduled for multiple innings in the opening week of Grapefruit League games. The others: Herrera, T.J. Beam, Jimmy Barthmaier, Ty Taubenheim, Phil Dumatrait and Elmer Dessens.

Jaret Wright, who is in the running for starting duty, is scheduled only for one-inning stints early because the staff wants to be cautious with his long-nagging shoulder.

Fun in the sun: Chuck Tanner was watching a rundown drill from behind a fence as third base prospect Neil Walker somewhat softly called, "Now," to get a throw from the shortstop chasing the runner his way.

Tanner walked onto the grass and shouted to Walker, "This isn't Pine-Richland! There are 40,000 people in the seats!"

Seconds after each was done laughing, Walker, a Pine-Richland High School graduate, boomed out "Now!" in the next drill with enough volume to be heard across the complex.

Inside pitch: The Pirates have four non-roster players in camp with spring escape clauses in their contracts that allow them to declare free agency if they are not added to the 25-man roster by the final few days of March: Wright, utilityman Doug Mientkiewicz, reliever Casey Fossum and infielder Luis Rivas.

Countdown to Atlanta: 36 days.





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