Pirates’ Joe Musgrove puts his athleticism on display in many ways
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Joe Musgrove was on his way to becoming a first-round draft choice in 2011.
So it’s no surprise he wisely, but reluctantly, gave up football and basketball before his senior season at Grossmont (Calif.) High School.
But he believes it’s best for young people to play as many sports as possible while growing up.
“I think at a young age, you should play as much as you can: Be athletic. Be a kid. Have fun,” he said. “Playing other sports improves so many other things that you don’t even realize. Playing basketball gives great hand-eye coordination. Being a lineman (in football) gives you great footwork, agility and explosiveness. Playing soccer teaches you elusiveness and how to move and be athletic.
“All those things you do as a kid, you don’t realize what they’re providing you with. As you get older, it starts to translate.”
Musgrove, 26, said he played baseball “since I was in diapers.”
But he also played indoor soccer and many other sports before focusing on baseball, basketball and football in high school. In football, he was a defensive end, offensive left tackle and tight end.
Finally, he had to focus on baseball with his pro career approaching.
“My senior year, I shut everything else down and just focused on baseball and mainly tried to avoid any chance for injury that would disrupt my chance at getting drafted,” he said.
Musgrove (6-foot-5, 230 pounds) has been put on notice by manager Clint Hurdle to be ready if the need arises for a pinch hitter or pinch runner when he isn’t scheduled to pitch the next day.
He has five hits in 32 at-bats this season and is hitting .156, which is third among Pirates pitchers behind Steven Brault (.381) and Trevor Williams (.250 before Monday).
“I’m the extra guy off the bench if we don’t want to burn a position player,” he said. “I’m ready for that anytime.”
No smooch for Clint
Hurdle said he was pleased no one was injured Sunday when a 24-year-old man casually strolled onto the field at PNC Park and attempted to shake the hand of the Philadelphia Phillies’ Brad Miller.
“It was weird,” Hurdle said. “I’ve never seen that before.”
The unidentified man’s casual gait might have been a first for Hurdle, but he was on the field when Morgana Roberts, the infamous “Kissing Bandit” of the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, jumped the railing to kiss the Kansas City Royals’ George Brett.
Roberts gained fame for rushing fields and courts to kiss some of the greatest athletes of all-time, including Steve Garvey, Pete Rose, Nolan Ryan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Brett (twice).
Hurdle said she ignored him.
“She only kissed superstars, man,” he said.
For security reasons, Pirates officials had no comment on the team’s procedures for trying to discourage trespassers. Sunday’s event was the first such intrusion in several years.
When the Pirates extend the protective netting in front of the seats from foul pole to foul pole, as they have plans to do, it will be even more difficult fans to jump onto the field.
Brault, who has been on the injured list since July 6 with a shoulder strain, said he “feels really good.”
He threw a bullpen session Sunday and plans another Wednesday before possibly throwing a simulated game this weekend.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .