Pirates begin search for hitting coach
The makeup of the Pirates' coaching staff for next season will be discussed Friday when manager Clint Hurdle and members of the front office huddle in Bradenton, Fla.
The team already is searching for a hitting coach, as Gregg Ritchie on Thursday was named head coach at George Washington University. Hurdle did not rule out the possibility of other departures after team executives evaluate the staff's performance in 2012.
“We haven't engaged in those formal discussions yet,” Hurdle said by phone from Pirate City.
Hurdle spent the first part of this week working with players in Instructional League. Thursday and Friday are set aside for meetings with general manager Neal Huntington, player development staff and scouts.
Management has drawn up a list of candidates — internal and external — to replace Ritchie, but no one has been contacted.
“We're going to be aggressive,” Hurdle said. “We want to get the right guy. But we don't need to be in a rush about it. There might be one or two guys who come available after the playoffs.”
The Pirates' .243 batting average ranked 14th out of 16 teams in the National League and was 11 points below the league average. The Pirates also ranked 14th in hits and on-base percentage, 10th in runs per game (4.02), fourth in home runs and ninth in slugging percentage.
“We know what our weaknesses were,” Hurdle said. “We're looking for a guy who can connect the dots. I'm not looking for a swing doctor. I'm looking for someone with (major league) experience, but it's not a deal-breaker. We've got a couple of internal options who don't have (major league) experience.”
Triple-A Indianapolis hitting coach Jeff Branson and Double-A Altoona coach Ryan Long are likely to be considered. Neither has coached in the big leagues, although both played in the majors.
Meek is a free agent
Minor league relievers Evan Meek and Doug Slaten and utilityman Drew Sutton filed for free agency.
In 2010, Meek made 70 appearances and earned an All-Star bid. However, beset by injuries and inconsistency, the righty pitched in just 36 games over the past two seasons. Meek, 29, went unclaimed on waivers after being designated for assignment when Rick van den Hurk was added to the 40-man roster.
Slaten, 32, had a 2.77 ERA in 10 outings this year. The left-hander refused an assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis. Sutton, 29, hit .243 in 24 games. His walkoff homer July 3 against the Houston Astros was one of the highlights' of the season.
Baseball America rates right-hander Gerrit Cole among the top prospects this past season in the High-A Florida State League (where Cole is ranked No. 2) and the Double-A Eastern League (where he's ranked No. 3). Cole was promoted June 20 from Bradenton to Altoona.
Pirates minor leaguers Jameson Taillon (No. 3) and shortstop Gift Ngoepe (No. 20) also are ranked among the top FSL prospects. Baseball America said Taillon, who was promoted to Altoona in August, did not play long enough in the Eastern League to merit best-prospect consideration.
In the Low-A South Atlantic League, West Virginia outfielder Gregory Polanco is ranked third and shortstop Alen Hanson is ranked sixth.
The Pirates have four players among the Gulf Coast League (rookie ball) picks: catchers Wyatt Mathisen (No. 5) and Jin-De Jhang (No. 19), second baseman Dilson Herrera (No. 7) and right-hander Tyler Glasnow (No. 9). Three State College players are on the short-season Class A New York-Penn League list: righties Luis Heredia (No. 2) and Clay Holmes (No. 15) and outfielder Barrett Barnes (No. 10).
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7811.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: New catcher Cervelli eager to bond with staff
- Ex-Pirate Parker fights against Parkinson’s with optimistic attitude
- MLB notebook: Pirates’ Liriano gets $2 million bonus as part of 3-year, $39 million deal
- Pirates notebook: Team ‘more relevant’ as Winter Meetings end
- Pirates notebook: Trade talks continue, but no deals imminent
- Pirates’ struggling catcher Sanchez sent home from Dominican Winter League
- Pirates trade for left-handed reliever Bastardo
- Pirates finalize Liriano’s 3-year, $39 million deal
- Pirates re-sign Liriano to 3-year, $39M contract
- Pirates notebook: Pirates open to signing Walker to extension