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Pirates minor league notebook: Low-A Power struggling to find footing early in season

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By Ryan Pritt
Saturday, May 24, 2014, 9:10 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Like its parent club, the Low-A West Virginia Power have struggled in terms of wins and losses.

Entering Saturday night, the Power were last in the South Atlantic League Northern Division at 16-31 and were 17 12 games out of first place.

But unlike the Pirates, wins and losses aren't everything, and in terms of player development and learning, most around the team believe this season has been somewhat of a success.

“If you take the record out of the equation, we're getting better each day, and that's all you can ask,” manager Mike Ryan said. “They're becoming better players, and that's all I'm worried about. They're growing as a team, so it's all been good.”

Infielder Wyatt Mathisen said that minor things have cost the team.

“It's probably the biggest thing,” Mathisen said. “We've lost 20 games or something by one run. That's all one-run games are. It comes down to little things.”

Buddy breaks through

Perhaps no player has been more affected statistically by the Power's slow start than pitcher Buddy Borden.

The right-hander has shined so far, owning a 2.18 ERA, and he has limited hitters to a .185 batting average over nine starts.

But he only broke into the win column Tuesday in a 4-1 win over Delmarva.

Borden (1-2) is remaining positive and said he thinks the team is on the verge of a turnaround.

“We came out with a slow start, but we've been playing the game the right way lately,” Borden said. “More times than not, things will go your way when you play that way. You have to keep grinding and continue to play the right way and get some more big hits and pitch some more shutdown innings and it's going to go good for us.”

McGuire settling in

After missing some games due to injury, Reese McGuire, the 13th overall pick and the Pirates' second in the first round in last year's draft, might be settling in.

Infielder Erich Weiss still leads the team with a .306 average, but McGuire has risen to second at .294 after hitting .385 over his past 10 games.

There still is room to improve, however. Of his 15 hits over that span, just two — a pair of doubles — went for extra bases.

He has three doubles, a triple and no home runs this season.

Ryan Pritt is a freelance writer.

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