Pirates notebook: Bucs won't change inside approach on mound
Although the Pirates do not believe Andrew McCutchen's injury was directly caused by a retaliatory pitch in Arizona, the Pirates are well aware of the risk of their pitching philosophy places upon their position players.
Despite that risk, the Pirates have no intention of changing their approach on the mound.
Clint Hurdle said Thursday the Pirates' focus on pitching inside has led to a dramatic improvement of pitching performance during his time in Pittsburgh. But the Pirates manager knows a side effect of pitching inside is hitting batters. The Pirates have hit a major-league high 61 batters entering play Thursday, and Pirates batters have been hit by a MLB-high 60 pitches.
“We are going to stick with our pitching philosophy,” Hurdle said. “We are well aware of the consequences. We make choices. We have the freedom to make choices. What we don't have is the freedom to choose the consequences.
“When I addressed the team the other day, I noted when I walked in the door here it was a team that had lost 212 games in back-to-back seasons and we felt there was an opportunity to make significant improvement off the mound with a more focused pitching philosophy. ... It's a reason we've become a better, more competitive team.”
But the Pirates' approach has irked opponents, including Diamondbacks president Tony La Russa, who blamed the events of the weekend upon the Pirates. Pirates reliever Ernesto Frieri broke the hand of Diamondbacks star Paul Goldschmidt with a pitch Friday, and the Diamondbacks responded by hitting McCutchen on Saturday.
“If that's the way you want to pitch you need to understand with those rewards, it comes with risks,,” La Russa told the Arizona Republic. “There's an old expression that you learn in competition: there ain't no free lunch.”
Hurdle sees things differently.
“We try to pitch aggressively to both sides of plate,” Hurdle said. “We have not taken up an initiative to pitch dangerously.”
Pirates still playing with 23
The Pirates are still holding out hope they don't need to place McCutchen (ribs) on the disabled list. Neil Walker (back) was also held out of the lineup again. It meant the Pirates were playing with only 23 players for a second straight day.
“He felt better,” Hurdle said of Walker. “Seemed to me his (return) was too quick (last week). We'll give him more time so the next time we plug him in we can keep him in.”
Hurdle said McCutchen is getting better and there's “a chance” he avoids the disabled list.
Pedro Alvarez is eligible to come off the bereavement list Friday, but the Pirates aren't sure when he will be back in Pittsburgh. Hurdle said there was “a possibility” Alvarez could return to Pittsburgh on Thursday night. ... The Pirates traded pitcher Jay Jackson to the Brewers for cash considerations. The 26-year-old right-hander had pitched all season at Indianapolis, posting a 4.89 ERA.
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 bench coach Jeff Banister named Rangers manager
- Pirates face mound of decisions in offseason
- Pirates organization to continue pursuing value free agents in offseason
- Pirates’ Banister named finalist for Rangers’ managing job
- Pirates will implement price increase for 2015 tickets