BRADENTON, Fla. - Manager Buck Showalter met with reporters in his office before heading to McKechnie Field for today's game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. I passed along the highlights, but here are some quotes to go with them.
On Derrek Lee taking batting practice today:
"He feels really good today. It's different from some things in the past. So far so good."
On Lee's game schedule once he starts playing:
"It's not going to be every day. Keep in mind, we can create as many at-bats in the game as we want to, down below or here. I think getting the at-bats is less of a challenge than hopefully the physical part of it. You have to be a little careful with it. He feels so good right now that you have to kind of keep the reins on him a little bit and not do too much too quick. But he's in a good place right now."
On Craig Tatum:
"He felt good today. He's going to do some running, throwing, what have you. As I said before, if this was the middle of the season he'd be able to play, but when you get that intercostals you have that little tweak going on there, so we're really going to err on the side of caution. I expect to see him back in the flow here shortly."
On Koji Uehara:
"Koji threw a bullpen yesterday and that went well. He'll probably take another bullpen and then a couple days off and then pitch in a perfect world, but that could change."
More on Uehara:
"As far as games, he's another guy that might miss his off-day. He could be pitching. If everything falls there, he'll be pitching. I think he should be OK with that. He's had enough off-days."
On Matt Wieters struggling at the plate, and the suggestion that he doesn't have a track record like Luke Scott:
"I really don't look at it that way. If you look at it purely statistically, Matt's got a pretty good track record, too. Obviously, not the type of year statistically that Luke had last year. Matt is working on a few things, too. I try to give him a little pass as far as that's concerned. He's going to be fine. He's doing a great job catching. I know Mark (Connor) and Rick (Adair) have been so impressed with his game-planning skills."
On Josh Bell's increased speed:
"Sometimes, I think it's how you feel, too. He feels like running. It's like somebody has taken a wheelbarrow off his back. I looked at him last year and I always thought this guy, underway, could run well. Now, what you are seeing differently is not just underway, it is from the get-go. He has a chance to surprise some people, wherever he is this year. And now you can tell he wants to run. It's a part of the game he wants to expose."
Here's the Pirates lineup:
Jose Tabata LF
Neil Walker 2B
Andrew McCutchen CF
Pedro Alvarez 3B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Matt Diaz RF
Ronny Cedeno SS
Jason Jaramillo C
Ross Ohlendorf RHP