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Pittsburgh Pirates GM Speaks: Notes From Neal Huntington Show

Neal Huntington speaks each week on 104.7 WPGB FM

The Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington checked in with Pirates fans from cold and windy Wrigley Field:

This is typed as we hear it.  If you have a detailed question please send us a note for clarification and we will do our best.  We don’t want to talk for Huntington just want to pass along information for you. 

The Twitter question picked this week was an easy one from @PapaJohn27 
What are expectations and what would denote a successful season?

Take a significant step forward and win a World Series Championship said Huntingon.

First thoughts on games and the roster?

It’s nice to get a win out of the way. Big hits from Walker and McCutchen. Nice outing from Correia.

Yesterday was tough. Wasted a great start from Maholm. Evan has been as good as you can be for us. He will help us win a lot of games the rest of this year.

Bullpen question from Greg, (who is hard to pin down on his question..he asks several at the same time….)

A bullpen is the most difficult for GM to put together.  Last year people weren’t excited about our bullpen last year.  It became a strength.  The reality is we are going to put it together late.  We aren’t going to spend a lot of money on it year and year out.  We explored looking…..pretty aggressively…. for a veteran.  It didn’t make sense.  With Hanrahan and Meek we felt we had two guys that could close for us.

In terms of starters, two fine starts, how about Correia’s and Maholm’s debut?  (Again this wasn’t exact question, but the one Huntington answered)

Both worked ahead, had some balls squared up right at people, but yesterday we lost a game we probably should have won.

Ross Ohlendorf showed that his velocity was up, his change up was a better pitch.  He just didn’t pitch well,  middle of plate, ball up in zone.  If he can attack ahead and keep ball down in zone he will be better

Morton very encouraging.  Attacking down in zone, Charlie at times had overpowering four seamer, two seamer had better velocity than ever this year.  It was nice to see him face adversity, he battled through it.  Came back out after giving up runs.  Ramirez, Longoria…got them out. 

Morton took a big step forward.  Now can he carry it forward into game after game after game?

Morton’s velocity better and why?

Morton would sit mid 90′s.   This Spring he reached 97, but sat 92-93.  More life, more movement.  Tough for hitters to barrel.  He’s maturing.  He’s strong and confident.

McDonald?

James wants to compete.  Show he is quality starter.  We will probably limit him some, innings wise, pitch count wise. 

Did you have back up plan for Correia and Maholm should things not go well?

We always have a plan A through F….dont want to get caught without being prepared.

Greg:  As it pertains to pitching…talking to radio stations, will pitching be better..the one, two guys seem…., but success can be determined from three, four, five guys..

They really do.  We need Paul and Kevin to be what they have been.  If not we have decisions to make.  Ohlie, Morton, McDonald have quality stuff.  Look at Philly rotation–Roy Hallady sent back to A ball.  In 2007 Lee was sent back to minors.  Oswalt-same thing.  None of the four were touted as being top of rotation. 

It happens over years. 

We need to find five starting pitchers that give us a legitimate shot to win.  As long as we do that we are going to have an interesting year.  Nice part is Brad Lincoln is getting healthy.  (He then went through Owens, Morris, ……..and finished with Aaron Thompson as options)

Pirates Game lineup was changed during show as Andrew McCutchen were scratched. 

Neal said “If it is a day or two or longer, we are cautiously optimisitc”

Greg asked three questions at same time, not sure where this is going to go..but it pertains to Pirates injuries.

All injury cases.  We have what their schedule is if all goes well, hiccup, or more than hiccup.  Big picture reporting (on Pirates injuries like Beimel, Snyder, Lincoln) doesn’t make sense anymore.  We are going day by day with injuries.  Beimel threw live batting practice fine.  Snyder caught that bullpen and  felt good.  Scott Olsen threw from bullpen mound.  His arm strength is good.  Starter or reliver?  As time progresses we will determine.

AAA five man rotation?

Where Brad is (health wise) determines it.  He could start the season down there doing a rehab assignment. 

Brian Burres could spot start at major league level.

Rudy Owens has done what he needs to do. 

Sean Gallagher, Daniel McCutchen could fill in.

Looks like Justin Wilson will be in that rotation.  Could be a five man rotation with six men. 

We could have gone with five prospects in the AAA rotation.  But we want to protect major leagues…..

We want to see what Sean Gallagher can do.  Talked about Gallagher.  Doesn’t want him  getting stuck.  We want to see what he can do as starter.

(It sounds like Daniel McCutchen will be in the AAA bullpen.)

Huntington then began to discuss the thought of marrying the position players with the big three pitchers (Taillon, Allie, Heredia) in the minors.  Huntington said the Major League position players for the most part are in first or second full season.

He then said that “We have a lot of pitchers in between big three (of Taillon, Allie, Heredia) that can help at the major league level.

Huntington was adamant about the Bucs having options at the AAA level that could help the big league club.  He said, we are getting closer to having pitchers pushing to get at the major league level.

Seven day concussion policy?

We think it’s great.  Talked about Ryan Doumit and Neil Walker.

Crotta over LeRoux?

Young guys.  Works in progress.  Have MLB ability.  Mike took to bullpen very well.  It was a tough call.  Crotta can go multiple innings.  Chris is more of a one or two inning guy.

Josh Rodriguez over Pedro Ciriaco?

Josh had nice spring.  More bat and a move we could keep.  ( In the beggining he mentioned the word irreversable–love that word)

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