ShareThis Page

Hurdle: Bring back Derrek Lee next season

Rob Biertempfel
| Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011

CHICAGO -- Manager Clint Hurdle already is lobbying to get Derrek Lee back in a Pirates uniform next season. However, neither Lee nor general manager Neal Huntington would indicate whether that's a possibility.

"I'm not going to close any doors," Lee said Friday. "But it's something I haven't even thought about. I want to get to the offseason first before I start talking about that kind of stuff."

Lee has been on the disabled list since Aug. 10 with a fractured left wrist, but he could be activated as soon as today.

"I'm just trying to get back on the field," he said. "I'll worry about everything else later."

With 326 career homers, Lee brings much-needed power to the lineup. A 15-year veteran who won a World Series ring in 2003 with the Florida Marlins, Lee also adds experience to the roster.

"Have you seen many teams that have won a lot without having at least one five-year guy in their lineup• I haven't," Hurdle said. "You need somebody who's been tested by fire, who can lend some quiet confidence and a voice of reason to the clubhouse when times are challenging."

Hurdle said Lee is a "perfect example" of that type of player.

Huntington was noncommittal when asked if adding veterans will be a priority in the offseason.

"We need to add players who can help us win games," Huntington said. "If that player has veteran status, that's a plus."

The Pirates acquired Lee, 35, on July 30 from Baltimore in exchange for minor league infielder Aaron Baker. The Pirates are paying $2.6 million of Lee's $7.25 million salary.

Lee homered twice in his first game with the Pirates but has just 18 at-bats with the team. He was hit on the wrist by a fastball from Chicago Cubs closer Carlos Marmol on Aug. 3. Lee tried to play through the injury but wound up on the DL.

"I really enjoyed writing his name in the cleanup spot for (five) days," Hurdle said. "I look forward to revisiting that."

Lee hit in the cage Wednesday and took live batting practice yesterday. When he returns, Lee will get the bulk of the playing time at first base.

"We need to find out what Derrek's capable of and how he fits here," Hurdle said. "Is there a future (for Lee in Pittsburgh)• I don't know, and I don't think he knows."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.