Exhibition game leaves Curve with unusual week

It’s a good thing the Pirates visited Altoona on Saturday because the game probably would have been rained out had it been scheduled for Sunday.

“We really caught a break and were blessed with great weather,” Curve GM Rob Egan said.

This is an unusual preseason for the Curve because of the Pirates exhibition game, so the players get to spend a few extra days in Altoona before starting the season Thursday at Erie.

Typically the team would wind up spring training in Bradenton, Fla., on Sunday and arrive in Altoona on Monday. This year, the players arrived Friday, giving everyone on the team a few extra days to find a place to live and get acclimated to the city.

The team’s workout schedule also is different this year. The players had Sunday off, and manager Carlos Garcia said the team will work out in the afternoons this week at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

Whether the team can actually get on the field is questionable because of rain and snow in the forecast. PNG Field does have indoor battings cages, so the hitters can get in their work inside, while the pitchers might be able to work out in the outfield grass if the weather isn’t too bad.

The Curve roster didn’t come together until late in spring training, with key players such as first baseman Matt Curry and third baseman Adalberto Santos not joining the club until late in camp. The team didn’t have much time to build chemistry, so this week will provide some time for that.

“I didn’t have these guys in the same group, but I know the personalities, I know they’re veteran players, I know there’s a lot of young players and the energy’s going to be there,” the manager said. “[Many of them] played for me at some point last year … and I know they’re going to play the game right.”