Some notes from this afternoon's press meeting with Pirates manager Clint Hurdle:
* As Pedro Alvarez prepares to return back home to play in his first All-Star game, Hurdle said that he is going to share with his third baseman that the game is "more about experience than performance ... it's the mindset and openness that this isn't an all-or-nothing, win/lose situation."
(Note: the "experience" over "performance" theme is one that Hurdle often repeats. In fact, it came up twice today: first with Pedro Alvarez and the All-Star Game, and later when discussing Chris Davis. I only point this out because I think gives us some insight into what appears to be part of Clint Hurdle's broader point of view about how players should approach opportunities, and it is a philosophy he obviously shares with the team. It'll be interesting to see if we find this theme is repeated by Pirates' players throughout the season.)
* Asked if he had any opinions regarding the changes to the All-Star Game, Hurdle said, "It doesn't matter ... I'm a soldier, give me my marching orders and I'm going."
* Hurdle said there may be a "small shuffling" in starting rotation after the break. The team will discuss the issue in in the coming days.
* Hurdle said that Jason Grilli will be available to pitch in the All-Star Game and that they are "still working through Locke situation."
Newly-acquired Russ Canzler
* "Right handed hitting corner option. Guy that's had some success with the bat," Hurdle said of Canzler, "Going to try him out in right field and third base and see how versatile we can get him."
* Clint Hurdle was the hitting coach for the Texas Rangers during the 2010 season. While he was there, Chris Davis, this season's breakout player of the first half, was also with Texas. Asked about his thoughts regarding Davis' success this year, Hurdle said the following:
"Fantastic talent, you could see that at the time. Light-tower power. ... I'm not so sure it would have ever happened in Dallas, sometimes guys wake up one day with their head on a pillow and get it."
Hurdle said that often when a player "gets it" it has nothing to do with coaching or effort: "sometimes it just happens when it's supposed to happen." Finally, Hurdle added that he thinks Davis probably approached the Baltimore opportunity with the right frame of mind, saying that he probably embraced it as "opportunity and experience versus a performance minded test."
“It sure is fun to watch. Good kid. I’ve talked to him a number of times.”
McDonald, Walker updates:
* No new developments on James McDonald. The pitcher was placed on the 60-day disabled list simply because “he’s just not going to be ready to pitch,” Hurdle said.
* The Pirates manager said he talked to Walker yesterday and described his overall progress as "minimal, he's got some time off."
Analogy of the Day
* Hurdle said that managing of the 40-man roster over the course of the season is like pouring gas into a funnel:
"As you get towards the back end of the season it's like pouring gas into a funnel. A lot of it spins around you want to get right down in that small hole to come out."
He later explained the analogy: the gas is the 65-man roster, the funnel the 40 man roster and it all comes out into the 25 man roster.
I was a guest on the "Mets Musings" podcast yesterday evening. You can listen to it here.