First Pitch: Extended Spring Training

Spring Training wrapped up here today in Bradenton. The Pirates played their last game of the Grapefruit League, winning 3-1 against Toronto in Dunedin. The minor league camp finished off with a camp day, featuring two intrasquad games with A.J. Burnett, Justin Wilson, Jameson Taillon, and Stetson Allie pitching.

The major league team has left for Philadelphia, where they will play two exhibition games against the Phillies before opening the season on April 5th. The full-season minor league teams will depart in the morning. That just leaves the Bradenton Marauders and the players in extended Spring Training as the only players who remain in Bradenton.

With the conclusion of Spring Training, I’d like to thank everyone for making March the biggest month in site history. The content will only get better going forward.

Kristy has already returned to Pittsburgh, where she will be covering the Pirates once the season starts. I’ll be sticking around in Bradenton for another week because it’s 40 degrees back in Virginia to cover extended Spring Training and the first two games of the Marauders’ season. A.J. Burnett will make his first rehab start in one of those games. Later this month I plan on heading to West Virginia to catch a series and cover the early season progress of Josh Bell and the other high upside players that will start at the level.

All of the coverage, whether it is the Spring Training coverage, the Pirates regular season coverage, or the live minor league reports, is made possible through the sales of the Pirates Prospects books. The more books that are sold, the more coverage the site can provide. If you haven’t bought the books already, you can buy your copy on the products page of the site. I use my copies on a daily basis as reference for the articles I write. The books are designed to give you quick access to any information you want to know about the Pirates’ system.

I’ll be continuing my coverage tomorrow morning from Pirate City. The Pirates should at least have some intrasquad games taking place in the afternoon. We started rolling out the season previews on Sunday (links below), and will continue tomorrow with a look at the Pirates’ lineup, and a look at the 2012 Bradenton Marauders.

Links and Notes

**The Pirates beat Toronto 3-1, thanks to homers by Nate McLouth and Matt Hague. Game story here.

**A.J. Burnett threw three innings at Pirate City today. Video of one of his innings can be seen here.

**The Pirates optioned Brad Lincoln and Daniel McCutchen down to Triple-A today.

**The 2012 Season Preview begins with a look at the Pirates’ starting pitchers.

**The 2012 minor league preview takes off with a look at the West Virginia Power roster.

**Prospect Notebook: Taillon and Allie’s results from Pirate City today, plus Kyle McPherson will start the year on the AAA DL.

**Pirates Notebook: Hurdle Pleased With Spring Training Work

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