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Pirates notebook: Nutting: Stability key to talent pipeline

| Saturday, April 5, 2014, 7:51 p.m.

Pirates owner Bob Nutting spoke Saturday about the importance of stability in extending the contracts of general manager Neal Huntington and manager Clint Hurdle.

Nutting specified one area where continuity is particularly important to the Pirates: drafting and player development.

“One example of how a cohesive organization that is speaking with one voice throughout the various layers can really develop a culture is with players. So when they hit the major league level, we saw it with Gerrit Cole last year, so you can have an immediate impact,” Nutting said. “So whether it's signing a high school player out of the draft or signing a 16- or 17-year-old in the Dominican, (we are) then providing the resources on a consistent basis throughout their career as they are working their way up to the majors. We are teaching the same way. ... We're training the same way, so that as they move through the levels they have a consistent level of support.”

Under Huntington, the Pirates have improved their farm system, earning Baseball America's No. 1 ranking this offseason. The Pirates' farm system ranked 26th in 2008, Huntington's first full season with the Pirates.

“(We have) a commitment to very high-potential (amateur) talent, even if we need to wait,” Nutting said. “We are always going to be dependent on a certain flow of that talent through the organization.”

On dollar allocation

Are the Pirates ready for a $100 million player?

“We've shown commitment where it made sense,” Nutting said. “We've been — and will always have to be — careful and strategic allocating dollars, whether it's in the amateur draft, international facilities or, as we have consistently said is part of the plan, at the the appropriate time trying to get some of these players signed for the long haul.”

In and out

Travis Ishikawa was in the starting lineup again Saturday against the Cardinals, starting all five games at first base to open the season.

The Pirates have faced five straight right-handed pitchers to open the season.

Hurdle indicated Gaby Sanchez will start Sunday against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright.

Ishiwkawa entered Saturday with .417 on-base mark and hit his first home run since May 15, 2012, on Friday night against Shelby Miller.

Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.

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