Pregame: Inge gets start at second; Pirates' pitchers historically poor hitting


Notes from this afternoon's press meeting with Pirates manager Clint Hurdle:

Inge gets start at second

Neil Walker is day to day and will be reevaluated tomorrow by team doctors.

With Walker out, Brandon Inge will start at second base with Jordy Mercer remaining at shortstop. Another option would have been to move Mercer to second and start Barmes at short, but Hurdle explained that "Inge needs to get some at bats to stay fresh to be able to have the chance to produce." Hurdle added that giving Mercer stable starts at short (instead of moving him around between short and second) "won't hurt him", but it did not appear to be the primary reason for the decision.

More on Inge

Pirates' manager Clint Hurdle commented on Brandon Inge's offensive struggles this afternoon: "he's a guy that's got barrel to his bat when he gets consistent at bats. When he gets consistent at bats, he's shown the ability to produce runs." The challenge for Inge, Hurdle said, is whether he can transition from a day-to-day player to a bench role.

If Walker is out for an extended period of time, we may be seeing a lot of Brandon Inge at second.

Pitchers make up 11 percent of the batting order

The Pirates are receiving almost zero offense from their pitchers this season. Indeed, the pitching staff is on pace to post the worst cumulative OPS in the history of the National League, .219. Asked about what can be done, if anything, to get some offense from his pitchers Hurdle made a few interesting comments that I'm going to quote in full:

We've been pushing the envelope on this since I got here. Actually it's gotten better every year I've been here. But it's not good (this year)

Bannister's gone head on with these guys. By no means has this been pushed under the rug or are we sitting on our hands waiting for it to get better. We hit as much as the pitchers can tolerate. It's an area will continue to work on improving.

One of the things we're mindful of is that the guys were raising in-house have better opportunities because a lot of the guys we have now didn't come through our minor league program or the American League.

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