Notes from Clint Hurdle's press meeting this afternoon:
Hurdle said that Wandy Rodriquez is feeling good about his rehabilitation program: "The last two times he went out and threw back-to-back days he felt marked improvement. He was optimistic and upbeat. ... I know he feels much better about this process and the return to throw program."
Cumpton and Sanchez to start second game of doubleheader
Brandon Cumpton and Tony Sanchez will start the second game of the doubleheader. It will be Sanchez's first Major League start at catcher. Hurdle: "I'm just looking forward to seeing him play. ... I think it is going to be an exciting day. Real exciting opportunity for him."
Hurdle noted that there might have been a "different look" if the Pirates didn't have a doubleheader today. "But with two games and having to pitch 18 innings, we think Jeanmar makes us a lot better out of the bullpen."
Lessons from the last two trade deadlines
Reflecting on what the team has learned from the last two trade deadlines, Hurdle said, "Two years ago we went out and were very aggressive in getting a couple of bats, a couple of rental players, that didn't work out so well. Last year we went for controllable players ... that didn't work out so well. What we've learned is to look at what you've shown through a 100 plus games, look at what areas could use some bolstering, then you go knock on doors and see if there is a match and you can improve your ball club. If you can, you do; if you can't, you don't."
Additional Wild Card is making it more "challenging" to get a deal done
Hurdle agreed with the general sentiment that the extra Wild Card has made making a deal more difficult. "We got a lot of general managers doing an incredible job of posturing, of leveraging ... there are literally some doors that are not opening and the ask just really [doesn't] make sense, for us. But that's the industry in which we deal. As the clock continues to click you never know what may happen. No one wants to seem like they're dealing from urgency or desperation."
Yesterday the Pirates recalled Alex Presley from Indianapolis. Asked if there were other players in the mix for a call up, namely Andrew Lambo, Hurdle responded, "Yes sir, there were a couple other names talked about." Specifically on Lambo, Hurdle said, "He's dealt with some things professionally, he doing everything he can to make us aware he's playing good ball. ... there's definitely still interest in Lambo."
Is this a "special" team?
Asked if he thought this team was "special" in terms with how it has dealt with adversity, Hurdle said that what makes this group unique is that they "truly do have each other's back." He also pointed to the "next man up" philosophy that the team emphasized in Spring Training: "Someone goes down, they go down. We hug them; we pray them up; tell them we're thinking about them and get the next guy in play and get after things. We've probably pushed the next man up program a little more aggressively than we would have liked (laugh). But that's where we are."
Hurdle added that what he "loved" about this team is that they "play the game with passion." "We play the game hard. They also have fun. I love how the clubhouse has grown over time. They know it's there's they have personality. They also have a Shark Tank. ... These guys are colorful."
Clint Hurdle and Casey Stengel share a birthday
Hurdle: "Yeah, I knew that. There's a few others, but I like to claim Casey and I as kindred spirits."