Cole Tucker and Jared Oliva left Pirates’ list of alternative training sites for ‘skills development’
The Pittsburgh Pirates have announced their alternate training site will consist of 31 players who will play 13 games in April, although two players on their 40-man roster are conspicuously absent.
Pirates manager Derek Shelton said Saturday that shortstop Cole Tucker and outfielder Jared Oliva are staying in Florida for what he described as “individual skill development.”
Tucker was the Pirates’ first-round pick in 2014 and spent last season playing in the outfield. He missed more than a week of spring training with a thumb injury, losing to Kevin Newman and Erik Gonzalez in a three-way contest for the starting shortstop position. Oliva, ranked the Pirates’ 16th prospect by MLB Pipeline, joined the major league club for the final six games of the season last September.
“They were part of the discussion,” Shelton said. “We sat down and told them our thoughts and came up with a plan and they were both 100 per cent on board. We thought Bradenton was a better place to get the skill development stuff (facts).”
Shelton said he doesn’t know the schedule, but expects Tucker and Oliva to eventually join the alternate training site roster before moving to Triple-A Indianapolis for the start of the minor league season.
The roster includes 15 pitchers, four receivers, seven infielders and five outfielders, and includes notable veterans like Todd Frazier, Brian Goodwin and Steven Wright, former first-round picks Will Craig and Travis Swaggerty and top hopes of Oneil Cruz and Miguel Yajure.
Shelton said the coaches for the alternate site’s practice squad will be Indianapolis Triple-A manager Brian Esposito and pitching coach Joel Hanrahan and Double-A bench coach Altoona Gary Green and pitching coach batting David Newhan.
The Pirates will use PNC Park and Pitt’s Charles L. Cost Field as alternate training sites, with a Heinz Field locker room serving as the clubhouse. The alternate group will play six games in Columbus (April 5-7 and April 17-19), four in Toledo (April 20-23) and three in Louisville (April 24-26).
The Pirates alternative site group:
Pitchers: Tyler Bashlor, Chase De Jong, Jandel Gustave, Geoff Hartlieb, Max Kranick, James Marvel, Nick Mears, Braeden Ogle, Sean Poppen, Edgar Santana, Chasen Shreve, Shea Spitzbarth, Blake Weiman, Steven Wright and Miguel Yajure.
Seekers: Jason Delay, Joe Hudson, Christian Kelley and Andrew Susac.
Infielders: Ji-hwan Bae, Rodolfo Castro, Will Craig, Oneil Cruz, Wilmer Difo, Todd Frazier and Connor Kaiser.
Outfielders: Brian Goodwin, Hunter Owen, Chris Sharpe, Troy Stokes Jr. and Travis Swaggerty.