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The talk from the Pirates, however, has been markedly more introspective and optimistic. That was manager Clint Hurdle's tone as he addressed the media on Wednesday following Pittsburgh's first Spring Training workout for pitchers and catchers.

We're here to win games," Hurdle said. It's an opportunity for a new era of Pirates baseball, as I've said. When Andrew walks out, it's a new era.

Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World:: That metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel is part of what motivated Hurdle to sign a four-year extension with the Pirates last September. The next month, they charted a course that led them away from McCutchen and Cole, two franchise cornerstones, and toward the young group that's filling up the Pirate City clubhouse.

Sean Rodriguezone returning veteran who was particularly close with McCutchen, said Wednesday those trades "hurt" initially and during the "grieving period" that followed.

But he now echoes Hurdle's hopeful point of view. I know a lot of fans feel a little sour, and I don't blame them," Rodriguez said. But I don't ever feel like we can't win. In offseason conversations with teammates and general manager Neal Huntington, Rodriguez often brought up his experience with the Rays. You can win; '11 proved that. I looked for the opportunity to stay and be a part of that. We're going to win further than we have in the past.

A world championship is why you tee this thing up every spring. It's not as if the Pirates broke up a postseason team. They won 78 games click at this page and 75 last year. Nor did they sell off every player of value. That makes a big difference. I believe we're good and we can play well.

Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. He Official Site Of The Pittsburgh Pirates his hands apart, with his right forearm rotating close to 90 degrees but his left arm stopping short of that. Rodriguez was healthy enough to play, but his surgically repaired left shoulder was never at full strength last year.

Rodriguez repeated the movement Wednesday morning at Pirate City, this time twisting out each arm with full range of Official Site Of The Pittsburgh Pirates. Thirteen months removed from a dangerous car accident, Rodriguez is healthy again -- and it shows. Rodriguez reported to Spring Training on Wednesday feeling "definitely percent" after a year when he was anything but that.

Rodriguez and his family were involved in a serious car accident in January that required surgery to repair a torn left rotator cuff and more. He was expected to miss the whole season, but he rushed back to join the Braves in July -- just in time for the Pirates to acquire him on Aug. Rodriguez immediately provided one of the highlights of a disappointing season, hitting a walk-off homer in his first game back in Pittsburgh. But overall, the year-old batted just. Rodriguez belts walk-off HR in return to Bucs.

The Pirates believe Rodriguez will bounce back after a normal, healthy offseason. It was a long but productive winter for Rodriguez, who went to work in the gym as soon as the Pirates' season ended. You never try to work toward being what you were the year before. You're always trying to be better. Rodriguez enjoyed a career year for the Pirates in as he hit. He will serve a similar super-utility role this year, having played every position but pitcher and catcher, and could factor into the left-field mix along with Adam FrazierJordan Luplow and Daniel Nava.

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Hudson, who wore a walking boot after Wednesday's workout, twisted his ankle while jogging. Hurdle said he "didn't tell Josh how to react," instead walking him through management's optimistic vision for the organization's future. Hurdle doesn't expect Harrison's request to be an issue when he reports to Spring Training.

Josh Harrison indicates desire for trade from Bucs. There have been multiple conversations had about the men we do have on this club, how his role can play out on this club, who he can impact -- because he does bring a significant edge and energy," Hurdle said.

I expect to see a guy that loves to play the game and is going to go out and show people he's a good ballplayer. Both players were acquired from the Astros in the Gerrit Cole trade. If you can believe it, Opening Day is only six weeks away.

That means if we're going to start previewing the season division by division on a weekly basis -- read article we are -- we have to start right now. Baseball is an individual sport masquerading as a team one, so we'll be previewing each division by counting down the 20 most pivotal players in the division. These aren't necessarily the best you Giving Oral Sex To A Girl special. They're just the ones whose performance will be most vital to their teams' success this season, and seasons moving forward.

And to keep it balanced, we'll pick four from each team. We begin with the National League Central. Tell me what you think -- not just about this list, but also whom I should not miss when I do the American League East next week, at will. He might not be the hitter Rhys Hoskins is -- though he could be!

A supersonic talent energizing a fan base that's desperate for something to get excited about. Nick Senzel will be front and center Official Site Of The Pittsburgh Pirates Reds camp.

Austin MeadowsPittsburgh Pirates Speaking of future Pirates All-Star outfielders, Meadows was supposedly the reason the Bucs could Official Site Of The Pittsburgh Pirates to trade Andrew McCutchen two years ago, back when he would have fetched them more of a return and thus back when he was not actually traded.

Meadows is still one of the top 50 prospects in baseball, but last year was supposed to be his big introduction -- except he hit. He has all the measurables and organizational excitement. Now it's time for Meadows to, you know, actually start hitting. And stay on the field.

Barry Bonds click Roger Clemens saw only a minimal increase in their percentages -- up to He had some strong stretches, especially in low-leverage situations and at PNC Park, but his walk rate climbed 4 percent as he fell out of the setup role they signed him for. They'll both be around a while, Feliz throughand Crick even longer.

It also features a closeup of an open-heart surgery, multiple scenes of torture and maiming and has as dark an ending as any movie released last year this side of "mother! Castillo was the one pearl amidst the rubble, and while Cincy's rotation doesn't look much better this year, article source sure does.

Jameson TaillonPittsburgh Pirates It remains fantastic and inspiring that Taillon is back on the mound, and pitching excellently, so soon after recovering from testicular cancer. But the Pirates' staff needs innings, and that's the one thing they haven't got from Taillon -- or anyone else, really. The Bucs also need something to give their fans to cheer for this year, and Taillon is easy to cheer for.

Taillon could break out with better fortune.

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Eric ThamesMilwaukee Brewers Thames is still responsible for one of the greatest baseball quotes of all time: Thames tore the league apart in April, and he was actually terrific in September, too. It was the middle part when he sagged, including a ghastly June he hit.

Josh Harrison indicates desire for trade from Bucs. That metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel is part of what motivated Hurdle to sign a four-year extension with the Pirates last September. Their other options include super-utility men Adam Frazierwho put up solid advanced metrics in the outfield last season, and Sean Rodriguez. Then came Marte's shocking game PED suspension, and when he returned, he looked diminished and exhausted.

He is starting to look lost against lefties, which is why Ryan Braun may see some time at first base this year. Thames was the story for a larger part of the season last year, and he's immensely likable and obviously capable of runs of dominance.

We take a break one-third of the way through the countdown to talk briefly about the NL Central's offseason. If the rest of baseball Official Site Of The Pittsburgh Pirates been as active as the NL Central has been this offseason, well, Scott Boras would be making a lot fewer tortured analogies.

The division acquired the two most expensive free agents thus far -- Yu Darvish and Lorenzo Cain -- and made the two biggest trades -- Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich. The Cardinals made one of their biggest trades in memory, and not only do people barely remember Official Site Of The Pittsburgh Pirates, the general consensus among their fans is that they've let the aggression of the Cubs and Brewers leave them in the dust.

For all the talk of potentially wavering motivations to win among various MLB teams, the NL Central came to play this year. Raisel IglesiasCincinnati Reds For a while, the Reds were experimenting with turning Iglesias into a multi-inning reliever, and it worked like gangbusters for the former starter.

There's little reason to push it with him now that Cincinnati knows how good he is; it's possible he'll be one of the best closers in the league by the end of the year. He and Felipe Rivero are easily the best relievers check this out the division.

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Still, it'd be nice if the Reds stayed creative with Iglesias. Josh BellPittsburgh Pirates Now that McCutchen is gone, Bell is actually the top returning hitter for the Pirates; he led all returning Bucs players in homers, slugging, walks and games played. He's a switch-hitter with burgeoning power, and he's only 24 years old. Until Meadows arrives, Bell will be the youngest player in the lineup. Bell loses focus sometimes in the field and he has a long swing that has plenty of holes.

But he's also underrated, underappreciated and underconsidered. Paul DeJongSt.

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Louis Cardinals A rookie comes out of nowhere and has a jaw-dropping year, leading to in-season honors and the Cardinals believing that, at last, they have solved their perpetual shortstop problems. That's DeJong now, but that was also Aledmys Diaz in Diaz, the most recent shortstop of the future, fell apart last year and has since been traded to Toronto.

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The Cards are counting on DeJong, who somehow led the team in homers last year despite only playing in games, to secure the shortstop position for the next half-decade, at least. But DeJong hasn't completely solved the strike zone he walked only 21 times inhe strikes out a ton nearly one-third of his at-bats and his range is solid at shortstop, but not spectacular. He better hang onto the job because, unlike Diaz, there is no DeJong behind him waiting to take over. Paul DeJong on impressive rookie year, goals for Domingo SantanaMilwaukee Brewers One month ago, it looked like Santana was the Brewers' brightest future star on offense.

One flurry of moves later, you wondered if Santana would even be on the team in Santana hit 30 homers and got on base at a. The addition of Cain and Yelich changes the whole equation for Santana: