Pirates truck on its way to Florida

For those shoveling out from the latest snow and ice storm the Pirates' semi trailer truck is filled up and on its way, spring training is upon us.

The Pirates' 18-wheeler equipment truck departed Pittsburgh on Wednesday morning . It will arrive in Bradenton, FL on Friday and it will be unloaded on Saturday.

The truck delivers gear for each player and coach and any personal items members of the team want shipped.

”We pretty much break down our whole entire equipment room and take it down there.” Pirates' clubhouse manager Scott Bonnett said. “We have personal items members of the team want shipped. Right now we are looking about eight bikes, sets of golf clubs as usual. Second baseman Neil Walker is bringing a ping pong table down this year.

“Bats and baseballs are a little different than what I've been doing. Baseballs instead of having them shipped here and load them on a truck and shipped back down there. I have had Rawlings ship ship the baseballs in bulk to Bradenton. Bats I have shipped from the company to Pirate City.”

Bonnett says there are a lot of other items on the truck.

“Everything that we use in the clubhouse is shipped other than water, we get that down there. We are taking down two kiosks machines for the people at McKechnie Field to use for selling tickets, we are taking a skid of gift bags for them to use down there. Three pierogi bags for the pierogi costumes. Bikes from the weight room and house stuff for bullpen catcher Herbie Andrade for his house down there,” Bonnett said.

The Pirates have replaced the existing clubhouse and expanded the agility field at McKechnie Field as part of a $6.5 million renovation.

It seems like everything is a week behind this year,” Bonnett stated. “Our challenge this year is we usually start at Pirate City for 10 days of practices and then we move over to McKechnie Field. Well McKechnie Field was leveled and we have a brand new clubhouse, so we are going into the unknown a little bit. It's an unbelievable facility right now, it's about five times bigger than the old facility. The main locker room has about 76 lockers and then there is a coaches locker room with about 45 lockers. This will be the first year since I got the job that I will have my own equipment room. It's exciting times.”

Pitchers and catchers report to Bradenton, FL Wednesday, February 18, and begin workouts the next day. The full squad will report on February 23. The first Grapefruit League game is March 3 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

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