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Pirates Packing Up To Head Home, Optimistic For Start Of Season

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Despite 12 big league seasons on his resume, when Brandon Inge stepped to the plate Monday night in Port Charlotte, Fla., he did not know whether he would have a job today.

This morning he was summoned to the manager's office and got a thumbs up.

"No matter how long you've played, it's still the same feeling when you go in there," says Inge. "It's really a relief and an honor to actually be on the ball club."

Inge may be on the squad but there are tough decisions for others still to come.

"We've effectively got 10 guys we have to make decisions on in the next 24 to 48 hours," Pirates General Manager Neil Huntington says.

Meanwhile, equipment manager Scotty "Bones" Barnes spent Tuesday loading the Pirates' tractor trailer full of the personal belongings of those who already know they are going to Pittsburgh with the team.

Bones says he never knows what someone is going to deliver to the truck," he said. "Like Jose Tabata came in with 20 to 30 boxes, I didn't expect that."

These 2013 Pirates are going north with a strong belief they can put together a season of winning.

A.J. Burnett says he's seen it from day one of camp, "There are a lot of guys who came in eager, came in with a bitter taste in their mouth from last year, and you could tell by how they went about their work, you could tell by the way they went about their business - they are anxious and that's exciting."

The players like what the off-season acquisitions have brought to the dugout, and they feel like they are going into the season with depth.

"We're confident in ourselves. We're confident we can turn this thing around and be a winning team, and we have the talent to be a winning team and compete with anybody," first baseman Garrett Jones said.

The Pirates will play their last game in Bradenton Wednesday against the Twins, and then face the Yankees in Tampa on Thursday before flying to Pittsburgh that night.

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