Pirates’ Adam Frazier takes advantage of Kevin Newman’s day off
Clint Hurdle didn’t write Kevin Newman’s name in the Pittsburgh Pirates starting lineup Monday night against the Chicago Cubs for the first time since June 9.
Newman, whose Pirates modern-day rookie record 19-game hitting streak ended Sunday, was replaced at shortstop by Jung Ho Kang and in the leadoff spot in the batting order by Adam Frazier.
Hurdle’s intent was to give Newman a day off, and Frazier had batted leadoff 45 times this season before Newman grabbed the job.
“Just didn’t want to disrupt the other guys, and Frazier has experience leading off,” he said. “Newman’s played more innings than anybody since the 10th of (June). That’s all part of the recovery program. I’m not going to bust him up and take him out in the middle of a hitting streak to give him a day off.
“It’s just the fact the physical work. You give him a blow, and we’ll plug him back in (Tuesday). We’ve had some success with it over the years.”
He had success with it Monday, too. Frazier hit four doubles to tie a major-league record.
Hurdle, a pitcher?
When Josh Bell steps into the batter’s box at Cleveland’s Progressive Field next Monday for the Home Run Derby, Clint Hurdle will be only a spectator, perhaps tucked into his couch in front of the TV at home.
Which is just fine with the manager, who threw nearly 200 pitches in the 1999 Home Run Derby at Boston’s Fenway Park.
At the time, Hurdle was the Colorado Rockies hitting coach (three years before he became their manager). He was working closely with the Rockies’ Larry Walker, who was on his way to the ’99 National League batting title. Hurdle was Walker’s natural choice to throw to him in the Derby.
Walker solved Hurdle’s tosses for only two home runs, and he was eliminated in the first round.
“I was the only guy who got Walker out that year,” Hurdle said. “I figured, ‘I’m done. This didn’t work out very well. It’s over. Walker’s going to kill me.’ ”
Then, Jeff Bagwell asked Hurdle to throw to him. After Bagwell hit five homers to advance, Jeromy Burnitz, who knew Hurdle from their time together in the New York Mets organization, came to him in a panic. His pitcher had taken ill.
When Burnitz hit six homers off Hurdle, here comes Ken Griffey Jr.’s posse, looking for a pitcher.
“Yeah, let me turn this one down,” Hurdle said, laughing.
As it turned out, Griffey Jr. beat Burnitz in the final round.
“I threw to four guys in the first round. Three got to the semifinals. Two got to the finals,” Hurdle said. “I threw 190-some pitches. I was a little tired at the end of the day.”
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .