Garrett Jones hit in the number two spot today. Tomorrow he will do the same thing. When people have been thinking about possible lineups for the 2013 season, I don’t think that many had Jones as an option to bat second. However, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle is considering it.
“What I like about Garrett is he’s got a lifetime [.852] OPS against right-handed pitching,” Hurdle said. “His numbers against right-handers are what they are. So do I get him an extra at-bat [in the number two spot]? No matter what we do it’s not going to be prototypical.”
Hurdle used Jones in the number two spot during the 2011 season. The left-hander had 104 plate appearances batting second. The only spot where he appeared more frequently was the number three spot, where he had 113 plate appearances. He had 94 in number five, and 89 in the number six spot. His line as the number two hitter was .286/.356/.538, which was his best performance out of any of those spots.
Hurdle mentioned that Travis Snider, Russell Martin, and Neil Walker could also be options. Despite multiple options, he prefers to have a consistent lineup once the season starts.
“I’m trying to set something up that once we set it up, I think there could be some minor routine there,” Hurdle said. “It’s hard to do in Spring.”
Wandy Rodriguez Throws 6.2 Innings at Pirate City
Wandy Rodriguez made a start at Pirate City this afternoon, throwing against the Phillies’ Triple-A team. The left-hander went 6.2 innings, allowing two runs on nine hits, with a walk and two strikeouts. He threw 94 pitches, with 67 going for strikes.
“He mixed all his pitches in,” Hurdle said. “Got up and down the number of times we wanted him to.”
Rodriguez has looked good this Spring, starting from his time in the World Baseball Classic. This will probably be his last start before his 2013 regular season debut.
“I’m not too concerned by the flame with Wandy,” Hurdle said. “If anyone saw him pitch in the WBC, if you don’t think he’s going to be excited the first time he gets the ball in the regular season. Those were very high-octane starts for him, emotionally and physically. I think they sharpened him very, very well.”
How Do the Pirates Stack Up vs Other Teams?
After today’s game, Clint Hurdle was asked whether the Pirates were as talented as any other team. His response was interesting.
“As talented on paper? It’s hard to say you’re as talented as some of the other teams on paper,” Hurdle said. “The beauty of this game is, you don’t play the game on paper. And that’s what our guys get, and that’s what guys who play the game get. So, yes, we are as talented as any team we play on the field.”
That’s a pretty honest answer, since most wouldn’t have the Pirates as a better team on paper. As we saw at times last year, on paper doesn’t really matter. The Pirates were a contender for the first four months of the year, and on paper they didn’t look like contenders. Then they looked like contenders around the trade deadline on paper, and finished the season with a big collapse.