Pirates spring outlook
Manager: Clint Hurdle (ninth season).
2018: 82-79, fourth place.
Training Town: Bradenton, Florida.
Park: LECOM Park.
First Workout: Wednesday.
He’s Here: OF Lonnie Chisenhall, LHP Francisco Liriano, RHP Jordan Lyles, SS Erik Gonzalez, RHP Aaron Slegers.
He’s Outta Here: 2B Josh Harrison, SS Jordy Mercer, RHP Ivan Nova.
Going campin’: Pittsburgh bumped back over .500 for the first time since 2015 last year, riding a young rotation that exceeded expectations led by Jameson Taillon and a second-half surge from Trevor Williams. Still, the Pirates didn’t exactly splurge on the open market in an effort to close the gap on Chicago, St. Louis or Milwaukee. Chisenhall comes over from Cleveland hoping to provide a bridge until Gregory Polanco returns from shoulder surgery. The top of the rotation is set. The only real intrigue will be for the fifth spot, where Lyles, Liriano — a fixture on Pirates teams that reached the playoffs each season from 2013-15 — and Nick Kingham will be in the mix. The back of the bullpen is set, too. Jung Ho Kang, who hit 21 home runs in 2016, returns with a chance to re-establish himself at third base or shortstop after missing 2017 and most of 2018 due to visa issues stemming from a third DUI conviction in his native South Korea in early 2017. The biggest question looming over camp will be who earns the starting job at shortstop and whether 1B Josh Bell can take steps toward regaining his power after his home run total dropped from 26 in 2017 to 12 last season.