Pirates' spring schedule up to 35 games
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LAS VEGAS -- The Pirates announced their 2009 spring training schedule yesterday, extended to a franchise-record 35 games because of the World Baseball Classic.
The schedule opens Feb. 25 against the visiting Philadelphia Phillies at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla., and concludes April 4 against the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers. The 35 games are five more than last season, and the three off-days are two more than usual.
The Classic, which runs from March 5-23, forced Major League Baseball to restructure schedules to allow players -- particularly pitchers -- the necessary time to prepare. For those not participating, though, there will be only two weeks from the time pitchers report until the Grapefruit League action starts.
The Pirates' pitchers and catchers tentatively are required to report Feb. 13.
Other highlights include:
• A March 3 exhibition against the Netherlands national team competing in the Classic.
• Two night games, March 16 against the Toronto Blue Jays and March 27 against the Tampa Bay Rays.
• Two visits from the Boston Red Sox (March 9 and April 1) and one from the New York Yankees (March 14).
First Published December 10, 2008 12:00 am