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Pirates notebook: Positives help keep Glasnow in rotation

Rob Biertempfel
| Sunday, April 16, 2017, 7:48 p.m.
Pirates starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow delivers against the  Cubs during the first inning Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Chicago.
Pirates starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow delivers against the Cubs during the first inning Saturday, April 15, 2017, in Chicago.

CHICAGO — Tyler Glasnow took baby steps forward Saturday in his five-inning outing against the Chicago Cubs. That's enough to keep his spot in the starting rotation.

“He has to earn it here,” manager Clint Hurdle said Sunday. “We can't just give it to him if the results aren't cooperating, and he's not giving us the innings we need, and it's starting to complicate things. He knows that.

“However, I'm a firm believer, as I believe everybody else is, that the greatest opportunity for growth is for him to pitch at this level and meet the challenges of the game at this level — and to understand the consequences of not being able to do the things you need to do at this level. You feel a lot more here than you do at Triple-A. There are games in the minors that nobody knows about. You don't care. Up here, there's a different care.”

Glasnow gave up four runs in the first inning, including Kris Bryant's 451-foot homer. Overall, he allowed six runs on six hits. Some big upsides were Glasnow struck out seven, issued only two walks, didn't face a three-ball count until the third inning and did not concede a stolen base.

“There were a number of things to take in a positive fashion,” Hurdle said. “Look at the swings and misses. Look at the stuff. Look at the break, the tilt and the depth to the breaking ball. Look at the changeups he was able to throw. He was aggressive in the zone. A lot of building blocks.

“In the first inning, he got clipped. The next four innings, that's a major league pitcher out there. That's what he's got to hold on to and work with moving forward.”

New-look pens

As part of Wrigley Field's renovations, the bullpens were moved from foul ground down the first and third base lines into rooms located under the outfield bleachers. There are large glass windows with one-way mirrors so players can watch the action.

“It's different,” reliever Trevor Williams said. “It's pretty quiet in there, but when you run out you hear how loud it is. But, it's nice. It's better than being down the line. It's nice to be able to get your work done without being crunched for space or having people yelling at you.”

Although the pitchers can't hear much of what's going on in the stadium, the enclosed space amplifies the pop of their pitches going into the catcher's mitt.

“It's loud,” said starting pitcher Chad Kuhl, who threw his bullpen session Saturday. “That pop and makes you feel really good. It's different, for sure.”

Second chance

Reliever Juan Nicasio was the goat in Thursday's come-from-ahead loss against the Boston Red Sox. On Saturday, with the Pirates up two in the seventh inning, Hurdle did not hesitate to turn to Nicasio again.

“I wanted to give Nicasio a shot to get some redemption. I'm a big believer in that,” Hurdle said. “When those guys hiccup, you get them back in there and show the belief you have in them and let their teammates rally around them.”

Nicasio responded with a scoreless inning.

Around the horn

Adam Frazier's three-run homer Sunday was the third of his career and his first with runners on base. … Andrew McCutchen is batting .314 (80 for 255) in 68 games at Wrigley Field. … Josh Harrison was hit by pitches in the seventh and ninth innings. Its his first career multi-plunking game. … The Pirates are 6-0 when scoring four or more runs and 0-6 when scoring three or fewer.

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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