This is the first of a new weekly feature where we do a social media round-up of Pittsburgh Pirates’ players’ activities on and off the field.
It’s almost here. Pitchers and catchers report in just 12 days and have their first workouts in 13. Then, we’ll see the sun shining down on perfectly manicured outfields, small white balls with red seams flying through bullpens and all will be right with the world again. Pirates Spring Training – it’s so close there’s almost an electricity in the air, a vibe signaling that something special is about to happen.
Players throughout Major League Baseball are enjoying their last bits of vacation and family time, while getting in workouts that will help them start spring training out on the right foot. And while in just a few short weeks the Pirates will all be again together under the same “roof” in Bradenton, right now, they’re still all over the map.
For third baseman Jung Ho Kang, this is both literally and figuratively the beginning of a new year as Monday, February 8 is the traditional Lunar New Year celebrated in many Asian countries, including his native Korea. Joseph Kim, our go-to guy for all news on Korean major leaguers, tweeted these images of Kang sending out Lunar New Year greetings:
This is a tradition, Kim said, as the Lunar New Year a very big holiday in Korea where people spend time visiting with their families and sharing greetings with one another. Kang chose to stay in the states to rehab instead of heading home to celebrate, Kim said, but his father has been visiting with him for a while.
While Kang spent much of his off-season in Florida continuing to rehab his left leg, which was severely injured in a take-out slide at second base from the Cubs’ Chris Coghlan in September of last year, he was in Pittsburgh last week, bundled up against the cold and sporting a Bucco’s winter hat.
He also tried his hand at cooking during his time off, seeming rather delighted with his handiwork (I guess good Korean take-out is still hard to find here in the states).
Catcher Francisco Cervelli has also been doing some cooking of late, and apparently hasn’t learned the secret to chopping onions yet…
(PRO-TIP: wearing goggles, sunglasses, or even contacts keeps the fumes from getting in your eyes and making you cry)
Cervy wins the Pirates most active social media presence for the off-season award, among vacation photos and visits in the Dominican Republic with outfielders Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, and videos and photos from his daily workout sessions with Tampa’s well-known trainer Coach John Forbes – in fact, in most of his posts, he’s working out alongside, and sometimes taunting, White Sox outfielder Melky Cabrera in Tampa and recently, St. Thomas.
He’s also picked up a few new sponsorships – or at least gave some major shout outs online of late – to two sports brands: 2nd Skull Caps, which he was sporting in a recent edition of Next Pittsburgh magazine, and Fresh Factory Shirts.
Newly appointed second baseman Josh Harrison is spending some quality time with his daughter and seems to have his dad game on-point as he illustrated in his Instagram from a recent flight…
J-Hay isn’t the only dad taking in some quality TV time with his little ones. Utility man Sean Rodriguez, seemingly inspired by the upcoming Presidential election, pondered what a presidency by some of the members of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse gang would look like…
Speaking of Josh Harrison, he recently took some time to share his message of motivation and hard work with some NFL Draft Prospects at the Ignition APG Performance Lab…
Marte did some motivational speaking as well, talking to St. George School in his native Dominican Republic about his career, dedication, hard work, and perseverance.
Pitcher Tony Watson was honored by the Dallas Center-Grimes School District recently – they retired his number four Mustangs jersey this week.
Shortstop Jordy Mercer is spending a little quality time at Mercer Ranch with some trashy TV in the days before Spring Training begins…
Meanwhile, back at the clubhouse – a few weeks back, the Pirates’ tremendously hard-working Clubbie, Scott Bonnett, aka “Bones,” who is always quick to provide fans with some behind the scenes info and images from the team, tweeted a photo with an image that caught the eyes of sharp-eyed twitter followers…gold Pirates jerseys! The tweet was removed post-haste, but as they say, once you post it on the Internet, it lives on forever!
Hang in there Pirates fans, baseball will be here before you know it!
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