Pirates' Barmes optimistic about improved offensive output

| Monday, Dec. 24, 2012, 7:47 p.m.

Shortstop Clint Barmes is the first to admit his first few months with the Pirates were rough, and that 2012 wasn't the offensive season he hoped to have.

His batting average in April was .149 in 20 games, and it improved only slightly in May to .189.

The numbers improved, especially in August, when Barmes hit .271 and drove in 11 runs, but his .229 average was the worst since 2006, when he hit .220 in 131 games with Colorado.

Barmes always has made more of an impact on defense, and general manager Neal Huntington praised that part of the shortstop's game at the recent PirateFest.

Still, Barmes has his sights set on a better 2013 at the plate.

“I wasn't happy with the production, obviously, and I know I can do better,” Barmes said.

“I can bring more to the team on the offensive side, so that is frustrating. But to hear that I did help with what I did defensively, I do believe that. I take a lot of pride in my defense, and it does make me feel a little better about what I did on a personal note. But I'm not satisfied. I'm going to continue to work to be more of a complete player and be solid on both sides.”

Barmes' biggest offensive game last season came Aug. 12, when his first career grand slam sparked a nine-run fourth inning to help the Pirates beat the Padres. Frequently recognized as a stand-up teammate and leader, Barmes' teammates couldn't say enough about him afterward.

“It couldn't happen to a better person,” Pedro Alvarez said at the time.

“We would have been happy if anyone hit it, but we were just glad he was up there in that situation.”

Barmes said he's trying to put the Pirates' disappointing finish last season behind him and focus on ensuring the team sustains momentum throughout 2013.

“If I can do that next season, I believe it's only going to make us a better team, and we need everyone to think the same thing,” he said.

“If everyone's improving, obviously, we're going to be that much better next year and hopefully be able to finish stronger and compete in the playoffs like we were all expecting to and wanted to.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at kprice@tribweb.com.

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