Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington Show Notebook

The Pittsburgh Pirates GM and Senior Vice President Neal Huntington spoke with Greg Brown on his weekly radio show today via the phone line.  The Pirates were wrapping up a ten game road trip against the Miami Marlins pushing hard to get a victory to end the trip 6-4.

Greg Brown asked about what some are calling the biggest series in 20 years against the Cardinals.  Huntington said

if the  team is looking ahead to the Cards, they are focused on the wrong thing.  We have five games against the Cardinals, and another series with them and we have to take care of the Reds.  If we go 4-1 against the Cards and don’t take care of business against the other clubs.  It’s not the end of the world, it’s just that…one big series.

Brown spoke about the rotation against the Cardinals.  Specifically talking about Jeanmar Gomez not being a starter option against the in the double-header.

Every game is a game we have to win.  We have to do everything in our power to win every game.  We thought bringing up someone from the minors gives us a shot to win the game and continue to win series.

Brown asked who was throwing well in the minors (trying to get a hint who might be announced as the starter for the nightcap of the double header…)

Cumpton continues to throw well.  Pimentel throwing well.  We are going to announce our decision this week.

Brown spoke about the injury to Jason Grilli.

Sure, anytime you can avoid surgery it’s a good thing.  We will re-evaluate and go from there.  Typically down time is four weeks and then eight weeks for more significant injuries like this.

Brown spoke about Grilli’s injury being similar to Wandy Rodriguez.

Wandy is relatively, well not minor, but on the shorter side coming back.  He felt continued tightness which means more rest.  There is no such thing as black and white…it’s not something where we can say it will be 37 days.  When it heals, it heals.

We have to make sure we build Wandy up.  We have to get his pitches built up.  Wandy has been down for significant time.  It will take more time than compared to a reliever.  Wandy is doing everything he needs to do to get back.

Brown spoke about Vic Black, the debut, and mentioned how close Jared Hughes was to returning.

We just want to get him more innings.  We want to get him positioned to doing what he will be doing at the ML level.  He is throwing the ball really well.  In the interim, gives us a chance to get Victor Black’s feet wet.  Add another quality arm to our depth.

How was Black projected when you drafted, are we talking about closer stuff, Brown asked.

Our guys loved his two pitches.  Victor had health challenges.  We thought it would be best to leave him in bullpen.  He is doing everything in his power to show he can pitch in high leverage situations for years to come.

[Commercial break]

Huntington spoke about Jose Fernandez.  A great pick by the Marlins.  We loved the arm.  He has been through a lot in his twenty years.

In term of Cuban defectors are they outside the Pirates budget?  It’s one area that is true free agency.

Brown spoke about carrying Mike McKenry with his recent injury and if a disabled list stint is forthcoming.

With both Russ and Michael dinged in the same way, how much can we expect them to play through.  Clint and I are going to meet right after this show to make a decision, about  what, if any roster move we are going to make.

Regarding the trade deadline, its a tremendous sellers market, Huntington said.

We have to make deals with our heads, not our hearts.

It’s humorus at times about different rumors, I have read those and called other GM’s and had a chuckle.   In the era that we live in, it’s inevitable, doing favors with reporters.  People dig.  The challenge is it’s more about being first, than being right.  The caring about being accurate is even lower.

Brown asked about Bob Nutting’s mindset.  The Yankees going for it because of the ownership.

Huntington said the dynamic of each clubs our different.  I respect Bob.  Our goals are aligned.  We have to be sure to keep one eye on the future.

Nutting isn’t calling you?    I mean in terms of the Yankees, it sounds like Cashman was almost forced to make a deal, Brown said.

We are motivated to win.  We have an owner that is motivated to put a quality product on the field for years to come as well, Huntington said.

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