The Neal Huntington Show today featured the Bucs GM talking candidly with Greg Brown about a number of topics, we will focus on the ones that interested us. The most important topic to us was Huntington’s take on Jeff Locke, the comparisions to last season and the call up of 28-year old former first round pick Kris Johnson.
Southpaws Kill Cards. We thought about the team grabbing a lefty while watching the St. Louis Cardinals struggle mightily against southpaws this season. Since the Pirates plucked Johnson from the Red Sox, the lefty-hander has pitched well in the minors and in winter ball. We love the thought of having him up now to see just what the team has in its arsenal.
While Johnson got the call, the bad news was that outfielder Andrew Lambo was returned to Indianapolis. Huntington spoke about the number of options the team considered before deciding on the 6’4″ Johnson.
Huntington mentioned several relievers as possible options after the pitching staff had seen heavy usage over the past week, but said that Johnson had put him self in a “good position for a September call up,” and finally got the nod. He was due to pitch so he could see action if Charlie Morton gets in trouble today in the series finale against the Diamondbacks.
The hard part for the Pirates was telling Lambo he would be going back to the minors.
“He did nothing wrong, said Huntington, we want to get him back here as quickly as we can.”
The team wanted to keep Josh Harrison for his defensive abilities, Huntington actually mentioned his ability to play shortstop. At least we thought we heard that.
Another consideration was how well Jose Tabata is playing in right field. Lambo shortening his swing and Huntington also said that in a short sample, Lambo has ”done nothing but reaffirmed what our development guys said about him.”
When asked about his defense and running abilities Huntington said he throws well enough to play right field. He also mentioned that Lambo isn’t a burner, but won’t clog the basepaths.
He has done the little things all the while hitting 31 homers, Huntington said.
Huntington mentioned the frustration that Alex Presley is feeling. The Bucs GM said, we are open and honest with our players. We told him, and all of our players, that they are playing for 29 other teams too. If his attitude js bad about half of those other teams might not be interested.
Regarding his production, he said that players get paid to get on base in big leagues. When you look at Alex with a couple of walks in a lot of plate apperances, it just doesn’t cut it.
Yeh, no shit. It’s good to hear Huntington talk candidly about the situation.
And then he really let it out, “we thought Lambo would be better than Presley, and time will tell if we are right.”
Travis Snider is close to getting rehab starts.
Huntington complimented Indianapolis.
It’s a big league city with a big league front office.
Kelly Shoppach can hit a ball in the seats he’s shown us that he might be better than what we had internally.
Regarding the possibility of Jeff Locke being worn down the Bucs GM was point blank.
Locke has plenty of innings left in the tank. Its not a threshold with him.
When asked about fans feeling like Locke is this years James McDonald, Huntington also said he doesn’t see it.
There is no similarity between JMac and Locke. We are tied for fifth in the league with our 7-7 record recently. It doesn’t feel that way, but we are. Every team hits a stretch where they don’t play their best baseball, it doesn’t make it ok. But I hope it doesn’t make anyone hit the panic button.
They could have rolled over yesterday. They don’t quit. Wandy Rodriguez is coming back in September. Jason Grilli is coming back. We don’t see the comparison between James McDonald and Jeff Locke. We don’t see the comparison between this years team and last years team.
Huntington also said that he thought the team was going to win yesterday when they were down 8-0.