Pirates recall Triple-A days in return to Indy

Pirates recall Triple-A days in return to Indy

INDIANAPOLIS -- Several Pittsburgh Pirates stepped into the home clubhouse at Victory Field for the first time in years on Saturday morning ahead of their 13-6 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. The trip to Indianapolis marks the final preseason tuneup for the Pirates before they open the regular season against the Cardinals at PNC Park on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET.

The Indianapolis Indians have been the Pirates' Triple-A affiliate since 2005. More than half of Pittsburgh's current roster spent time in the International League and at Victory Field. A sellout crowd of 14,352 was on hand for the exhibition game.

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"This is a Minor League team in a Major League city," said Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who saw action in 201 games for Indianapolis from 2007-09. "I wouldn't want to be anywhere else if I was in Triple-A. You have the Colts, Pacers and NASCAR. There's a lot that goes on in this city. I think it prepares you for when you make it to the Majors."

The theme throughout the clubhouse was pretty consistent. The former Indians were enjoying their time back in Indy but are content playing in Pittsburgh. Once you get a taste of the big leagues, you usually don't want to come back.

"A lot of us have great memories of being here," said Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison, who logged 62 games for Indianapolis in 2011 and 64 more two seasons later. "A lot of us have been reminiscing about who we played with and what happened when we were here. It's cool to go back to where you played and share some stories."

Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle also wore an Indianapolis Indians jersey -- ironically as a Reds Minor Leaguer -- in 1982. He played at old Bush Stadium -- on West 16th Street -- which the Tribe called home from 1931-96.

"I got to walk the stadium [Victory Field] this morning," Hurdle said. "This facility is fantastic. Our players want to get to Pittsburgh as fast as they can, but they do enjoy their time here. Our player development staff has done a great job with all of our affiliates, and this one could be our crown jewel.

"Today is about honoring the fans," Hurdle added. "We are playing [a regular-season game] tomorrow. … We hope to play a spirited game today, but [we] want to stay healthy."

Matt Segal is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.