Clint Hurdle discusses James McDonald, Russell Martin

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Note: Bucs Dugout has press box access now, and David will be doing some reporting from games for us. - Charlie

Here is a partial transcript from Clint Hurdle's press conference following tonight's 10-6 loss. Obviously the focus was on James McDonald's struggles and the lack of length the team is getting from its starters. Hurdle was also asked about his decision to sub Russell Martin for Pedro Alvarez at third base in the sixth.

Seen anything that would lead to James McDonald’s loss of velocity the last three starts?

I don’t want to speculate right now. I haven’t had any conversations with him. So I’m probably not going to have any answers for you along those lines tonight. I need to sit down and really talk to the guy. We chatted briefly. Haven’t seen anything glaring, but we saw what you saw as far as velocity, finish, the command. There were some challenges for him, a number of them tonight.

The importance of getting length from the starting pitchers: A what point does it become worrisome?

I’m not going to worry about it because guys are going to pitch. We’re going to have a guy out there every inning we play. And the starters do understand they do need make this thing work. And there’s different ways if you get pinched on how handle it, on whether you bring up another arm or two, you know, different ways to do it, to keep things in play until you start getting the length you need …The job those two guys [Justin Wilson and Bryan Morris] did tonight was outstanding … I like the way we’re playing. The hiccups we’ve had off the mound have been challenging. We’ve been able to handle them so far.

Why did Martin replace Pedro at third?

Double switch. I only had a couple pitchers left, Bill. And I needed Morris to give 'em every opportunity where he didn’t jeopardize the game and at least maybe two or three times he can get two, three times up and out. You know how many pitchers I had left? We’re a little short. So, Morris, we needed to get him out there for three. And that gave me the greatest length till I had to pinch hit. That's why you double switch in certain situations."

Is it important to know that Russell Martin can play third if need be?

It’s one of the reasons we went the way we did. It was part of the equation, putting it together. And he can do it … We’ve got Gaby Sanchez who also worked at Spring Training at third base, as well. So, that’s not the big issue. Right now we got to find out where James is at and what’s going on and move on from there."

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