by: Patrick Reddick
With much criticism of the 2012 Pirates directed at their lack of ability to catch base stealers, the team has made the catching position a focus of the off-season. Though it may take a few more years, the Pirates have been excited to see the progression of a Pail and Shovel who is making his way through the minors.
“It is an area that we are always looking to get better in,” said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. “Pail had a strong season in the minors last year and we will continue to monitor how he does in the future.”
Pail and Shovel played for the Pirates’ Class-A Advanced team in Bradenton, Florida in 2012. “We spoke a few days ago,” said Hurdle, “he really likes the climate in Florida, he loves working in a sandy location. Shovel has quite an arm.”
Shovel was able to catch 25 of 37 attempted base stealers last year. In comparison, Rod Barajas threw out just six of 99 runners. Meanwhile, Pail was solid as a backstop, allowing just three passed balls.
“Pail and shovel may be inanimate,” said Hurdle, “but his range of motion is already at or above Barajas’s level. We find that encouraging.”