PITTSBURGH – There was no real update on Tyler Glasnow this morning from Clint Hurdle, and Pirates’ General Manager Neal Huntington didn’t have much else to add in his weekly meeting with the media, including our own Alan Saunders. Right now, the Pirates are waiting to see how Glasnow’s shoulder feels.
“It’s till early,” Huntington said. “He’s seeing our doctor today and we’ll have much more information once we see how he feels today. We feel like we caught it early, that’s always good. We still don’t have a ton of information at this point in time.”
Glasnow didn’t blame the injury on his poor command yesterday, but Huntington noted that the discomfort didn’t come on just one pitch, but was with him the entire outing, possibly leading to his struggles.
“I don’t think it was [just] one pitch that he felt it on,” Huntington said. “To his credit, he’s trying to not let it be an excuse. He was trying to go out and put his team in a position to win the game. He didn’t do that. Give the young man credit, he tried not to use it an excuse. At the same time, realistically, I don’t think he felt it on one pitch. He tried to battle through it. It showed with the fact that he couldn’t spin his breaking ball at anywhere near the level he spun it at the minor-league level, his velocity came and went, he didn’t command the baseball anywhere near the way he has in the past, he lost a few pitches, unfortunately, so we do think that it was probably in his mind and in his shoulder at some point. We don’t quite know exactly when. But give him credit, he wants to own it. He wants to own that he didn’t have a very good outing.”
Huntington said that the Pirates are going to be conservative with Glasnow, hoping that he can be ready on day 16 after his trip to the DL, but willing to give him more time if he needs it. The goal is to get him back “healthy and effective.”
Huntington said that one big takeaway for Glasnow was speaking up sooner about an issue that was affecting him throughout his start.
“It’s a great learning experience for him about communication, about what he should and shouldn’t do, about what he can and can’t do,” Huntington said. “That’s a part of if with every young player, especially with young pitchers. … Young players have a sense of invincibility. The only way we can help players get stronger, the only way we can help players differentiate between normal stiffness and normal soreness from something that may develop into something larger, the only way we can nip something in the bud, is to know about it.”
Huntington noted that Glasnow isn’t the first young player to try and work through an injury or discomfort, and won’t be the last. As for Glasnow’s upside, we haven’t seen him come close to that yet in the big leagues. The Pirates are still being patient with him, and could return him to the minors if they feel he does need more time when he returns from his DL trip.
“We’ve got some growing pains to go through,” Huntington said. “We’re looking forward to what he can become. It’ll take some time. He may need some more time in the minor leagues. But we’ll continue to help him grow and develop.”
No Update on Chad Kuhl
Neal Huntington didn’t have an update on Chad Kuhl’s progress today. Kuhl left yesterday’s game after the first inning with right triceps discomfort. Huntington noted that they’re currently waiting things out and evaluating Kuhl’s injury.
“Much like Tyler, it’s still early,” Huntington said. “We want to see how he responds when he gets in today and how it responds to treatment over the next couple of days. It was an awkward throw on a ball that he fielded and he felt it. Again, our staff was aggressive in getting him out of the game to see where he is and how he feels today. At this point, we don’t have any updates. We’re hoping it’s shorter term than longer term.”
Brian Peloza had an update from Indianapolis today, with Dean Treanor hopeful that Kuhl won’t miss much time at all.
**Huntington was asked whether the Pirates had the pitching depth for a six man rotation, or to rotate guys in and out of the rotation the rest of the year.
“On Friday, we did,” Huntington said. “Potentially losing Kuhl and Glasnow for a little bit of time, it comes back to my favorite saying, the game of pitching is a game of attrition. That’s why we’ll work hard to acquire pitching. We’ll work hard to protect our young pitching.”
The Pirates still have the possibility of a four-man rotation the next few weeks, since they have so many off days. They don’t need a fifth starter until August 6th. They also still have enough pitching depth that they could turn to one of their Triple-A starters for a spot start, if needed, in order to give someone in the rotation a break.
**Ryan Vogelsong left his rehab start early the last time out with neck pain. The Pirates wanted to extend him up to 90-95 pitches so that he could be an option for the rotation, leaving a multi-inning role out of the bullpen as a fallback plan. He only got to the 65-70 pitch range, which means they will continue his buildup in another rehab start.
“Our goal is to get him back out at least one more start and see what we’ve got from there,” Huntington said.
Vogelsong didn’t seem like a possibility for the rotation prior to the injuries to Glasnow and Kuhl. After those injuries, he might have a shot at a start, but the Pirates still have some good, young options available in Steven Brault and Trevor Williams who can compete with him.