MIAMI — We’ve discussed September call-ups a lot this week, breaking down some of the players who are expected to join the Pirates. Today, Clint Hurdle was asked about two of the top prospects in Triple-A, and whether they’d be options.
The big guy that some have been calling for is Tyler Glasnow. Hurdle wasn’t committed to saying whether Glasnow would be up or down this month, although it doesn’t sound like it will happen.
“I have not seen him pitch this year. So based on what I’ve heard, he’s making progress,” Hurdle said. “He’s gotten better at every level. It’s a big, fresh arm. A kid we’ve liked a lot, we saw in Spring Training. It wouldn’t behoove him or me to say that he could help us this year or not right now. I think we’ll continue to let him pitch. He’s got a couple starts. There’s playoff opportunity as well in Indianapolis to see where it goes, but he has done a very good job of getting better this season at both of the levels he has been at. He’s a very interesting, exciting young prospect to have in your organization.”
I wouldn’t expect Glasnow up in the majors this year. The Pirates are already tight on roster spots, and they don’t really have a need for him in the majors right now. It wouldn’t make sense to bring him up for a small role, especially when he’s still got a lot to work on in Triple-A.
One player who might be ready is Elias Diaz. I asked Hurdle if he has emerged as an option for that third catcher role, and got a more committed response for Diaz than Glasnow.
“He has emerged to the point where he could be an option,” Hurdle said. “Tony Sanchez is still a guy that we’ve liked, and has shown the ability to do some things for us up here as well.”
It seems that Diaz has passed Sanchez on the depth chart behind the plate. Both could come up, but as far as third catcher duties, I wouldn’t be surprised if Diaz is the guy in September.
**Jung-ho Kang is out of the lineup tonight for the second time in the series against Miami. Hurdle said that this won’t be an ongoing thing, but it was an opportunity to get him some rest right now. He cited Kang’s favorable splits at home and against right-handers, and decided that on the road against left-handers would be the best time to give him a break.
“He has been really good for us this year,” Hurdle said. “So I’m not looking to rest him anything out of the ordinary. I just thought today would be a good day to rest.”
Kang will be back in the lineup tomorrow.
**Pedro Alvarez is in the lineup tonight, despite the Pirates going up against a left-hander. This is due to the fact that they’re in a stretch of playing left-handers five out of seven days.
“I don’t like to sit anybody five out of seven days,” Hurdle said. “He played two out of seven days. He’s shown the ability to swing the bat against some of the left-handers.”
**It’s still unclear if the Pirates will shuffle their rotation before the upcoming St. Louis series, although they’re at least discussing it.
“Ray and I are working through that,” Hurdle said. “As far as resetting it, we’re working through it. We’ve shot some ideas to Neal, so we’re still kicking some things around right now.”
A.J. Burnett will not be a factor here, since he isn’t expected to return that soon.
**Hurdle was asked about the stolen base issues the Pirates have had, and noted that it’s the release times for the pitchers that leads to this.
“More often than not, it’s been our release times,” Hurdle said. “There’s always that compromise, you worry about the release time, and you lose on the execution of the pitch. So we’ve tried to hybrid the two. At the end of the day, the actual stolen base hasn’t hurt us as much as you would think the numbers would. It has not. How many of them end up touching the plate? We need to do a better job though, because we’ve been better in the past.”
**The Pirates have a dance routine before each game, which has gotten some attention recently.
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) August 27, 2015
Each dance is different, and Hurdle said that while he doesn’t watch each one, his daughter tells him about it the next day. He made sure to watch last night (above).
“For me, it’s fun,” Hurdle said. “I use this analogy a lot. A dog wags his tail with his heart. They’re wagging their tail before the game down there. We always talk about having fun. Those are my guys, and I don’t care who knows it.”