Hurdle sees rest of roster hungry to join pitchers, catchers

Hurdle sees rest of roster hungry to join pitchers, catchers

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Monday is the "So what?" date on the Bucs' preseason calendar. It is the reporting day for position players, but most have been in Pirate City for days.

Yet they have not officially been part of camp. There is a reason pitchers and catchers report earlier: First-week drills are tailored to them, leaving position guys to fend for themselves, with conditioning or by taking batting practice off coaches.

They are about to hit the mainstream -- after one more down day, for the requisite physicals -- and manager Clint Hurdle can virtually hear them champing at the bits.

"We'll strap everybody on and get after it [on Tuesday]. I anticipate we're gonna have a hungry group," Hurdle said. "They've been here for a few days, but getting everyone together as a group will be different.

"It's probably the most populated early camp we've had since I've been here," added Hurdle, presiding over his fifth Spring Training with the Bucs. "It speaks to the individuals involved, the hunger they have and knowing what they have to work on. Maybe they just wanted to get out of the cold.

"I do look at it from the hunger perspective, guys wanting to get back together again and get off to a clean start."

The Spring Training clock runs fast. The gang will have only six days of all-team drills before the Black and Gold intrasquad game at McKechnie Field on March 2, with the Grapefruit League inaugural the following afternoon in Dunedin, Fla., against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.