Gene Lamont once made a candid observation about spring training competitions.
“As a manager, you say there is competition because you want to keep your options open in case something happens,” said Lamont, the Pirates’ manager from 1997-2000. “But you know before spring training begins who you really want to have the job. You always have someone in mind.”
That is instructive as the Pirates get set to open spring training Monday when pitchers and catchers report to Bradenton, Fla.
The most interesting camp battles shape up to be at third base, shortstop and fifth starter.