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Physicals, workouts go smoothly for batterymen

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Longest Day -- due to the rotation for the required physicals, workouts began at around noon, about the time they will henceforth end -- was as routine as possible for Pirates batterymen.

In some cases, that qualified as good news:

• Kyle McPherson, the rotation candidate who had to cut short a Winter League stint due to some shoulder fatigue, threw the ball with zeal during PFP (pitchers' fielding practice), continuing his problem-free progression.

"He had some minor setbacks over the winter, but his rehab is in a very good place," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's throwing his mounds and is on time with everything."

• Mark Melancon, the former Houston closer acquired from Boston as part of the four-man package for Joel Hanrahan and Brock Holt, dazzled during his bullpen session, drawing repeated raves from the guy catching him, Carlos Paulino.

• Francisco Liriano could only go through light therapy, but the Bucs are just delighted to finally have the left-hander and his broken right arm in camp, where they can keep a closer eye on him.

"We've set up a rehab program to keep him moving forward," Hurdle said. "Attention is mainly on him not having any setbacks. But we're very optimistic; there has already been a lot of improvement and now that he is in our environment, with our trainers, we have a good feeling."