Pirates ready to prove themselves again as camp opens

FILE - In this Oct. 5, 2013, file photo, Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, left, visits with Pirates general manager Neil Huntington during the baseball team's workout in Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Pirates have the second-best record in the majors since 2013, a run that restored faith in the franchise after two decades of misery and led to three straight playoff berths. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
AP

PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Pirates are ready to show they can keep pace with their deep-pocketed rivals in St. Louis and Chicago.

The Pirates have the second-best record in the majors since 2013 but spent the offseason dealing with the fallout of that success. Longtime second baseman Neil Walker was dealt to the Mets and first baseman Pedro Alvarez was released due in large part to salary concerns.

The team also lost several front-office pieces to other clubs, something manager Clint Hurdle called a byproduct of the team's rise to prominence.

While the core around center fielder Andrew McCutchen remains intact, there are questions at the back of the starting rotation and at first base. Pitchers report on Wednesday, with the first full workout scheduled for next Tuesday.