Manager Hurdle addresses the current state of 2014 Pirates
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle will depart for Bradenton, Fla., Thursday and arrive a month before pitchers and catchers report to spring training.
While speaking at a charitable fundraising event at the VFW in Natrona Heights on Monday night, Hurdle noted that when he arrives in Florida there likely will be a number of lingering questions surrounding the Pirates' 2014 roster.
Hurdle said the club still is exploring the trade and free agent markets for potential fits at first base.
The Pirates would like to add a proven quality left-handed bat to complement Gaby Sanchez, who has been productive against left-handed pitching.
“I know (Pirates general manager) Neal (Huntington) is continuing to have conversations, looking outside our organization for a possible fit,” Hurdle said. “One thing is we're not desperate. We're more than willing to make a trade if we're making a fair-value trade.”
Andrew Lambo is one internal option who could potentially fill the left-handed first baseman role. The 25-year-old slugged 32 home run between Double-A and Triple-A last season.
Primarily an outfielder throughout his minor league career, Lambo played first base in winter ball and took reps at first base during the Pirates' minicamp in Bradenton earlier this month.
“We believe Lambo needs to be looked at,” Hurdle said. “We don't have anybody in our minor league system now that is a first baseman and is ready to go to the big league club.”
Hurdle, like the fans he addressed, still is waiting on decision from starting pitcher A.J. Burnett, who has yet to announce whether he'll return to pitch in 2014. Hurdle said he has not spoken with 37-year-old free agent since November.
“Neal continues to have the meaningful conversations that need to be had,” Hurdle said. “From my understanding, A.J. is doing everything he has done every other winter except for saying he's coming back. He's trying to make that decision.
“ He knows how we feel. I've spoken to him, personally, all the way up to the middle of November. Then I felt like I was getting in the way. He needs quiet. He needs time at home.”
Hurdle said the club did have serious discussions about trying to retain first baseman Justin Morneau, who joined the club via trade on Aug. 31 from Minnesota but signed with Colorado as a free agent.
“Morneau was a tough call for us,” Hurdle said. “We liked what he brought. We liked the presence, the leadership, the bat-to-ball and the quality of the at-bat. … For $13 million guaranteed that was a little more than we thought would fit for us.”
Hurdle addressed the crowd for 40 minutes, then fielded questions. The Pirates manager was welcomed by a standing ovation from those attending and noted that 2013 “needs to be the start of something. … It can't be a one-year, feel-good (story).”
All proceeds from the event, hosted by Alex Mellon Entertainment will benefit Blake and Blair Sopcak, whose home was flooded on Aug. 28 in Sarver.
Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.
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: Prospect Sanchez makes 1st start at first base with Indy
- Time on the bench gets Snider back into Pirates lineup
- Harrison’s 5 RBIs help Pirates pound Brewers
- Saturday’s scouting report: Pirates at Brewers
- Pirates’ Axford overcame long odds to reach majors
- Friday’s scouting report: Pirates at Brewers
- Statistically speaking: Pirates, Brewers possess strengths up the middle
- Nationals rally against Pirates’ bullpen
- Pirates notebook: Cole on track for return to starting rotation
- Pirates notebook: Morton hopes to return this season
- Pirates notebook: Morton placed on DL; backup infielder Morel recalled