Pirates notebook: Hurdle keeps faith in right-field turnaround
The Pirates are still waiting for someone to step up and claim the everyday job in right field.
Travis Snider, Jose Tabata and Garrett Jones have gotten playing time in right this year, and each has failed to live up to expectations.
Through Wednesday, Pirates right fielders ranked last in the National League in total bases, batting average (.229), on-base percentage (.292), slugging percentage (.363) and OPS (.654). They were 12th in RBI (37) and tied for 12th in home runs (nine).
Snider is on the 15-day disabled list with a sore left big toe. Tabata has been limited to 61 games due to a DL stint. Jones, who also splits time at first base, has hit .206 in his 19 games in right field.
“If we can get somebody to go out and man that position, that can definitely help,” manager Clint Hurdle said Thursday. “I also believe we can keep going at it the way we have up to this point in the season.”
Then again, Hurdle doesn't have much choice. The Pirates were unable to swing a trade for a right fielder. Their best option in the farm system is Andrew Lambo, who has spent most of the past six seasons at Double-A.
For now, Hurdle will continue to mix and match players depending upon pitching matchups and who's hottest at the plate.
“One of our strengths is keeping everybody involved when we think they can match up better, keeping them fresh so when you ask them to come off the bench it's not like they haven't hit in 10 days,” Hurdle said.
Let's make a deal
Over the past several weeks, Hurdle got frequent updates from general manager Neal Huntington about ongoing trade talks. Hurdle said some clubs tried to use the Pirates' streak of 20 losing seasons as a negotiating ploy.
“There were some comments made about how important it was for us to do something because of the position we're in,” Hurdle said. “There were some general managers who thought they could remind us that we've lost 20 years in a row, that maybe we'd overlooked that and we might want to rethink how much we want to spend on a certain player.”
The Pirates wound up making no moves at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. Hurdle said things never reached a point where he was disappointed that a deal he expected to be made did not materialize.
“No, not even close,” Hurdle said. “I was in on every conversation.”
Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (forearm tightness) was slated to throw again from flat ground Thursday. Rodriguez said the plan was to toss from 60 feet until he felt “loose.” Rodriguez said he threw from 100 feet Wednesday.
“I think I can come back soon,” Rodriguez said. “But I need to throw hard first. … Once I get my first bullpen, then I'm ready (to consider a timetable).”
There's no word when Rodriguez, on the disabled list since June 6, will be cleared to throw off a mound.
“We're still evaluating his long toss,” Hurdle said. “He's very encouraged with the improvements and developments.”
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.
- No certainty for Pirates’ call-up veterans
- Rossi: Continuing legend of Pirate Ray
- Strong-armed outfielder Garcia growing into all-around threat
- Pirates notebook: Hurdle’s faith in Polanco pays off
- Starting 9: Pirates place renewed emphasis on nabbing base-stealers
- Pirates notebook: Burnett encouraged by extended simulated game
- Biertempfel: Pittsburgh native faced quick learning curve as Marlins GM
- Happ’s strong start, Ramirez’s homer pace Pirates past Rockies
- Patience serves as virtue amid prospect Glasnow’s quest for majors
- Gameday: Pirates vs. Rockies, Aug. 30, 2015
- Pirates notebook: Former 1st-round pick Tucker has shoulder surgery