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Pirates to open spring slate Feb. 26 vs. Yankees

Philadelphia only NL opponent; club to face AL East in 20 of 31 games

If you're marking off the days to Spring Training 2014, here is something to add to your countdown: 99 days to the Pirates' first Grapefruit League game.

The Bucs will kick off their exhibition schedule on Feb. 26 against the New York Yankees in McKechnie Field.

Pittsburgh on Tuesday announced its 31-game preseason schedule, another American League-heavy exhibition slate.

The only National League team the Pirates will meet in Florida, in fact, is Philadelphia. The Bucs will play five games against the Phillies, including March 28-29 in Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park to wind up preseason play.

With the Interleague rotation having them playing the AL East in 2014, the Pirates will get an extended preview look at those teams. Twenty of their exhibitions will be against clubs from that division, including other McKechnie Field dates with the World Series-champion Red Sox (March 3, 9) and the Yankees (March 17, 27).

McKechnie Field was singled out by Ballpark Digest last year for "best ballpark renovation" after a $10 million facelift highlighted by the additions of a right-center boardwalk, a Kona Bar in center and outfield seating.

With the increased seating capacity, the Pirates' 45th Spring Training in Bradenton, Fla., set club records for average (6,229) and total (93,433) Grapefruit League attendance.

Coming off a 94-win season that culminated in their first postseason appearance since 1992, and against the high-profile schedule, the Pirates anticipate more preseason sellouts than last spring's three.

Exhibition season tickets will go on sale on Dec. 11 (renewal forms to current season-ticket holders will go out approximately the same time). Tickets to individual preseason games will go on sale on Jan. 25 at, the McKechnie Field box office or by phone (877-893-2827).

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer.
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