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Volquez joins pitching staff full of returning talent

BRADENTON, Fla. -- For an untold number of years, the first day of Spring Training workouts for Pirates pitchers and catchers was consumed by introductions. Panning for pitching gold as they sought a winning formula, the Bucs consistently turned over their mound forces, parading in newcomers they hoped would help turn the trick.

But when the hurlers went through their first workout of 2014 on Thursday, it was a reunion of old friends. Double-takes were prompted by this realization: The 21 pitchers on the 40-man roster include only one newcomer, right-hander Edinson Volquez, signed as a free agent.

The other 20 are all incumbents who were in the organization last season. Although the status of one comes with an asterisk: Righty reliever Duke Welker was sent to Minnesota after the season, joining Alex Presley in the deal that brought Justin Morneau, but six weeks later the Pirates reacquired Welker for lefty Kris Johnson.

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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