Quick hits from workout

SARASOTA, Fla. - I'll plug in more quotes later, but here are some short items from today's workout:

Brian Roberts said his neck feels better every day. He also said he could play if it were the regular season.

"It's definitely better than it was a couple days ago," he said.

Asked if he might work out tomorrow, Roberts said, "I don't try to guess about tomorrow. To tell you the truth, it probably hasn't really been my call. It's a group effort."

Derrek Lee will see how his thumb feels tomorrow before deciding whether to hit on the field again. He didn't feel any discomfort when he made contact on the sweet spot of the bat during today's BP session against Willie Randolph. Lee didn't hit a home run in three rounds, but he one-hopped the fence in center field.

Manager Buck Showalter noted how Lee was "upbeat" after the session.

Ryan Drese will oppose Chris Jakubauskas in Sunday's intrasquad game, which will be played in Ed Smith Stadium.

Other pitchers scheduled to throw include Rule 5 pick Adrian Rosario, Wynn Pelzer, Mike Ballard, Raul Rivero, Nick Bierbrodt, Troy Patton, Chorye Spoone, Armando Gabino and Pedro Viola.

Paul Maholm will start for the Pirates in Monday's exhibition opener in Bradenton. Andy Sonnanstine will start for the Rays in Tuesday's home opener.

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