First Pitch: Altoona Named as Alternate Training Site for Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Altoona Curve announced on Thursday afternoon that PNG Field in Altoona will serve as the alternate training site for the 2020 season. That means that the players who aren’t on the 30-man Major League roster (which eventually shrinks to 26 players) on Opening Day, will be staying ready for the 2020 season 90 miles down the road from PNC Park.

We won’t know exactly who these players are until the rosters are set for Opening Day, which is scheduled for July 23/24 around the majors. What we do know is that there is probably going to be an interesting group of prospects on that side, guys who aren’t quite ready for the majors, but could be used as fillers during the season.

Back in March/April, Wilbur Miller did a series looking at what the possible rosters could look like for each minor league affiliate if the season went on with just a slight delay. Obviously that didn’t happen and there won’t be a minor league season this year, but the article is still somewhat relevant now. A few of the names have changed, especially after there were some surprises along with the 39 players cut earlier this month. For the most part though, the Indianapolis and Altoona articles give you a good idea of who could be training at the alternate site this year. Here are the links as refreshers.

Indianapolis Hitters

Indianapolis Pitchers

Altoona Hitters

Altoona Pitchers

One of the things I was most interested in with the announcement yesterday is the media availability for the training sites. We had heard rumors about Altoona being a Spring Training site, so the announcement was expected. Unfortunately, they didn’t give any idea on how the camps will be handled. Just my opinion, but a live stream of the daily training would be nice at both places. They could do it daily at first, then maybe alternate between the two sites day-to-day. It would be nice to get some type of updates from the Altoona site once the regular season starts going and they already have the equipment set up to do it.

Just a thought. Hopefully that’s similar to what they are thinking too.

PS: Thanks to the Altoona Curve for allowing us to use their amazing photograph of the park for our cover photo. We have plenty of photos of players at the park, but no good shots of just the field itself.

**We will have at least four articles today, including the one you’re currently reading. If any news comes up, we will have more. The other scheduled articles for today are as follows:

This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History – Birthdays galore, including Bill Robinson and Jason Kendall

Pittsburgh Pirates Seasons – A look at a great pitching season during the war years from an all-time great Pirates pitcher.

1979 Season Recap – Bert Blyleven takes the mound against the New York Mets

Hope everyone has an enjoyable Friday!

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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