BRADENTON, Fla. – Corey Dickerson made his Spring Training debut today, about a week after games started. The delay was due to the DFA and trade that sent him to the Pirates, combined with the birth of his child. But Dickerson won’t have any issues being ready at this point for Opening Day.
“It won’t take too many at-bats,” Dickerson said. “I think it’s getting a feel, getting your timing down, seeing multiple pitches, and working deep in counts. If you can work deep in counts, you get a good read on your swing, your eye. You’re telling yourself you are seeing the ball really well.”
The biggest thing for Dickerson this spring might be adjusting to the defensive side of things. He’s got a new outfield to play in, complete with learning the tendencies of Starling Marte, who will be playing next to him. But Dickerson feels that comfort will also come quickly.
“Just being able to read how much ground he can cover, that makes your job so much easier,” Dickerson said of Marte. “Communication, see how he communicates, and then just feed off him. He’s a great athlete and he covers a lot of ground, so it makes it a lot easier.”
As for the actual outfield, Dickerson will need to prepare for the big left field in PNC Park. He’s played there before, and has played in a big left field in Colorado. There’s no way to actually practice for a field without being on that field, but there are some things Dickerson can do to prepare for PNC’s left field while he’s in camp.
“Just work on your routes, the small things,” Dickerson said. “You can’t really cover any more ground than you can cover. But you can work on your first steps, your routes, your positioning, stuff like that.”
Smoker Works Another Scoreless Inning
Left-handed reliever Josh Smoker worked another scoreless inning today, his third of the spring. Smoker is in competition with Kevin Siegrist for one of the open bullpen spots, with the assumption that one of the remaining spots is being held for a lefty. Smoker has options remaining, while Siegrist has opt-outs, which could tip the scales in Siegrist’s favor.
Hurdle gave his review of how Smoker has looked so far, following today’s game.
“He’s gotten outs. He’s mixed his pitches well,” Hurdle said. “One of his goals coming into camp was to use his secondary pitches as well. There’s some downhill angle on the fastball. There’s a pretty high-strung competitor in there. He likes to get out there and mix it up. Today was another outing where he was able to attack the hitters. Pretty pitch efficient, 15 pitches. That’s what we’re looking for, and any time we’re looking at a left-hander, we’re looking for guys who can cover some right-handed hitters as well, and not just uniquely left-on-left.”
Smoker has been pretty even with his splits, not really showing a strong tendency against left-handers or right-handers. The problem is that over the last two years in the upper levels and the majors, he hasn’t had great numbers against either side. He’s made up for that a bit with high strikeout numbers in the minors, but high walks in the majors have negated those strikeouts.
He hasn’t issued a walk yet, although it has only been three innings. That’s going to be the key for him having success with the Pirates, whether it’s in the majors on Opening Day, or as a depth option throughout the year.
By John Dreker
Right-handed pitcher Nathan Trevillian retired on Thursday. The 2015 22nd round draft pick never threw a pitch in an official game. Drafted out of high school, he received a $100,000 bonus, along with $150,000 in college scholarship money to get him out of a commitment to Liberty University. Before he could make his debut after the draft, the 21-year-old Trevillian had a muscle flexor injury, causing right forearm tightness. That caused him to miss the 2015 GCL season. He pitched in the Fall Instructional League that year, showing an 88-90 MPH fastball and a big breaking curveball.