We heard an interview with Pittsburgh Pirates skipper Clint Hurdle on 93.7 The Fan on Friday. The question on a lot of Pirates fans minds is will A.J. Burnett return to the Bucs in 2014? The question from Ron Cook was this:
“Everybody in the organization said they want Burnett back, yet…your pitching coach (Ray Searage) was on one of the shows and said (Burnettt) didn’t take it well being passed over for that last start. Do you have any worries at all that your decision may, in sense, drive him away from the organization?”
I don’t have any worries. If it does, if it does… it did. My responsibilities are to make the best decisions for the team that day. A.J. has added so much value in so many different places. I can understand…the personal feelings. I was a player a long, long time ago. I give players time to reflect. Time to think. We have had one conversation, short one, in St. Louis. The biggest question, one we did kick around is he didn’t have a feeling whether he was coming back or not anyway. He will need time to think where he was with his career. That will need to be answered first.
The question wasn’t will A.J. be back in 2014, or do you want A.J. back in 2014? The question Cook asked was not thought out very well. He might as well have asked Hurdle if he thought the decision to not start Burnett in Game 5 would improve the odds that Burnett would return to Pittsburgh in 2014? Seriously, what the hell kind of question was that? Why the hosts didn’t just ask Hurdle directly is beyond me. But Clint Hurdle never said he doesn’t want A.J. Burnett back in 2014, although the hosts alluded to Hurdle’s speaking in the past tense as indicative of Burnett being history with the club. The hosts mentioned after Hurdle was off the air, that he didn’t come right out and proclaim he wants Burnett back in 2014. Ok he didn’t, but why not just ask him directly instead of playing two plus two must equal four? Look. The skipper said he will call the players this week. We think he will have a good talk with his ace. Where it goes from there is fifty-fifty. If Burnett plays ball, he needs to play in Pittsburgh. Clint and A.J. need to get over themselves, there is a pennant to win for Lord’s sake.
“I have applauded that man’s efforts since he put on a Pirates uniform.” Clint Hurdle on A.J. Burnett
Hurdle respects Burnett. The question is does Burnett respect Hurdle enough to go one more year? I certainly hope so. I know when Hurdle has time to reflect, he will think the same thing. The Pittsburgh Pirates new buzzword is sustainability. Well, sustainability begins with getting Burnett back for one more year. ________________________ From street merchants to the fanbase, Hurdle touches it all. Give the interview a listen here.