Pirates notebook: Walker gets deserved day of rest
SAN DIEGO — On the 59th day, Neil Walker rested.
After starting each of the first 58 games this season, Walker was not in the Pirates' starting lineup Wednesday against the San Diego Padres.
“He's tired,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He's been on the field a lot, and maybe I've got to do a better job of giving him more opportunities to get off the field as we move forward. We're also very mindful of the fact that he's played the last two seasons hurt. He's not made of Teflon. This is one day, but I think it's a significant day.”
A few days ago in Los Angeles, Hurdle talked to Walker about getting a day off. The Pirates were scheduled to fly back to Pittsburgh late Wednesday night and have an off day Thursday — after a stretch of 16 games in 16 straight days — so Walker is essentially getting a 48-hour break.
Walker laughed when someone suggested Cal Ripken is relieved to see him out of the lineup. Ripken played in an MLB-record 2,632 consecutive games over 16 seasons with the Baltimore Orioles.
“I never really thought about that, but I do want to play every day,” Walker said. “It's something I take pride in. It's something that is undervalued in today's game, but it's not easy to do.
“It's easy to do April through June. But when you hit the dog days of summer, there are days you wake up and you don't even want to come to the field. But you have to. We've learned to play the game this way, to push through the times you're tired or nicked up a little bit.”
Happy anniversary, Cutch
Wednesday was the fifth anniversary of Andrew McCutchen's big league debut. In that span, he leads National League players in hits (877) and runs scored (412), is second in games played (791) and walks (405) and third in doubles (177).
“It's definitely been a whirlwind,” McCutchen said. “The biggest thing I've learned over time is you have to have faith and belief in yourself, of what you want to do in life and what you want to accomplish. It has to start with you.”
Cole's offspeed effective
In Tuesday's 4-1 win, Gerrit Cole got four of his strikeouts with curveballs. He relied on the pitch particularly against Chase Headley and Seth Smith, the Padres' Nos. 3 and 4 hitters.
The increased usage of offspeed pitches was by design. Cole said his delivery felt solid from the start of the game with all of his pitches.
“We've been working on trying to create that easy, nice, flowing arm speed on the offspeed,” Cole said. “That comes from not overthrowing the fastball so much. We did a good job with that tonight and that's what set it up. I don't know if the quality was any better, but I think the discrepancy between the two pitches was good.”
In the zone
Like all teams, the Pirates' advance scouts prepare detailed “hot and cold zone” graphics for each opposing batter. The starting pitcher reviews the charts before every game, but the information doesn't help every guy the same way.
“Scouting reports are really great for guys who can put the ball wherever they want to,” Cole said. “For the most part, I have an idea where the ball's going. But I am by no means Greg Maddux. So, I can't worry about the hot zones early in the count. I can't worry about the hot zones with nobody on base. I've got to just attack.”
Cole added that sometimes, it's good to put off taking shots at a batter's cold zones until the situation is right.
“Saving some of those pitches for key situations can get us out of jams late,” he said.
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 inquire about Red Sox LHP Lester
- Pirates expect high prices in trade market
- Tuesday’s scouting report: Pirates at Giants
- Pirates notebook: Mercer welcomes chance in No. 2 spot
- Monday’s scouting report: Pirates at Giants
- Pirates notebook: Hurdle, Huntington on same page
- Pirates’ Worley tosses 4-hit shutout vs. Giants
- Rossi: Liriano no ace, but he’s Bucs’ key
- Minor league report: Sadler keeps producing without the hype