Scheppers Examined By Bucs

The Pirates have 2008 second round draft choice Tanner Scheppers in town and are taking a long hard look at the right-handed hurler.

Scheppers came to Pitssburgh on Monday for a three day visit, and to throw for the Pirates, offering a chance to check the injured right shoulder that caused him to miss the final two months of Fresno State's season.

"We're going through the due diligence process medically," Pirates GM Neal Huntington said. "It's just another step in the process. He threw a ‘pen for us today. It's not a make-or-break bullpen for him. It's just another step in his return to health. Rather than under the cover of darkness, we wanted to make it known that he was in town."

The Pirates are still targeting several unsigned players from the June draft before the August 15 deadline - including top pick third baseman Pedro Alvarez, Scheppers, fifth rounder picher Justin Wilson, number six pick outfielder Robbie Grossman and tenth choice pitcher Andrew Gagnon.

"We certainly hope to do that (sign) several key players," Huntington said.

Scheppers worked out in the bullpen on Tuesday and was examined by the Bucs medical staff. Before he was shelved in May, Scheppers had been a consensus first-round choice.

"We have seen his last bullpen (in California)," Huntington explained. "We've had a scout with him every time he's thrown a baseball in the last two weeks. Sean Campbell, our area scout, has been with Tanner for every long toss and every ‘pen that he's thrown. And then his last bullpen, we had a couple of our supervisors see him as well."

The Pirates are optimistic about Scheppers progress.

"Looks like the ball is coming out of his hand well," Huntington stated. "He's not 100 percent yet. He's not throwing his bullpens at 100 percent velocity. He's not throwing breaking balls yet. But the signs are definitely positive."

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