PITTSBURGH — Pirates general manager Neal Huntington sent a pretty clear signal with the waiving of Juan Nicasio that the front office is focused on 2018.

Saturday, that message was echoed by manager Clint Hurdle, as he inserted rookie catcher Elias Diaz and right fielder Jordan Luplow into the starting lineup in the second game of the Pirates' three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds.

https://twitter.com/ASaunders_PGH/status/904098326328594432

As the Pirates have seen in 2017 with the amount of young players they’ve relied on, there are bound to be some rough patches. Getting experience in September to hit the ground running could be a key for the Pirates entrusted with that opportunity.

“It can help,” Hurdle said. “I think how it helps is a much dependent on the player as i...

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