Pirates notebook: All quiet as trade deadline looms
SAN DIEGO — Barely 24 hours before Monday's 4 p.m. nonwaiver trade deadline, manager Clint Hurdle said he was maintaining contact with general manager Neal Huntington, but there was no news.
Asked if he would identify the Pirates' major needs — say a starting pitcher, reliever or bench player — Hurdle said, “That's a conversation I'll have with my general manager.
“I just don't care to go public with all that because it gets out. Then you get starting pitchers wondering if you want another starting pitcher. You got relievers wondering if you want a reliever.
“I don't play privy to that, and I'm not a fan of it.”
Relief pitcher Wade LeBlanc, who has played for seven teams, said players try to adopt the attitude of not worrying about what they can't control.
“It's up to the front office to do what they think is best for the team,” he said. “As far as the guys in this clubhouse, we feel we can win with what we have. It's our job to put the jersey on and play.
“It's their job to decide what this team needs, what the city of Pittsburgh needs to bring the playoffs, a championship to Pittsburgh.”
Blow out the candles
Hurdle celebrated his 60th birthday Sunday, and the manager said he received some humorous congratulations. One friend informed him that 60 is 16 in Celsius. Another said the word “sixty” is worth 15 points in Scrabble.
“I've got funny friends,” Hurdle said.
Quoting ol' blue eyes
Hurdle said one of the best lines he heard about birthdays came from Frank Sinatra.
“I think Frank Sinatra said on his 80th birthday that all he wanted was another birthday,” Hurdle said. “And I'll go with that. If I get it, I'm good. And if I don't, I'm good. There was a time in my life I wouldn't be able to say that.”
Starling Marte is one of baseball's best outfielders, as his Gold Glove awards the past two seasons attest. He also flashes one of baseball's brightest gloves. Marte designed a new glove this season that's black with a tan-colored web, highlighted by seemingly glow-in-the-dark, lime-green stitching.
Marte said the glove is a reflection of his personality and sartorial style.
“I like neon colors,” Marte said via translator Mike Gonzalez. “I really enjoy lime green. If you take notice of the way I dress, the colors I use in my wardrobe and my attire, I'm a very flashy guy. I thought, ‘How cool would it be to have a glove that matches the way that I dress?' ”
• Outfielder Gregory Polanco ran and took part in some baseball activities Saturday. Hurdle said there is no target date for his return from a strained left hamstring. Polanco is on the 10-day disabled list.
• A big reason the Pirates started Sunday 5½ games out of first place is the team hasn't capitalized against some of the National League's weaker teams. The Pirates were 1-6 vs. Cincinnati, 1-5 vs. the Giants and 0-2 against the Padres. That's 2-13 against teams with a combined winning percentage of .409.
• Tony Watson owns a team-high 10 saves. Felipe Rivero boasts nine. Should Rivero reach 10, it would mark the first time in club history the Pirates have had two left-handed pitchers earn 10 or more saves in a season.
• The Pirates open an eight-game homestand Tuesday. The Reds and Padres will be at PNC Park for three games, followed by the Tigers for two.
Don Norcross is a freelance writer.