Notes from this afternoon's press meeting:
Neil Walker Update
The Pirates second baseman, who left Saturday's game against the Cubs with a "sore side," is receiving a "heat and treat" today. Hurdle said that they are going to "warm him up and have him do things with the bat" before the game. Walker has not had a MRI scheduled.
Brandon Inge starts at second again tonight
The Pirates manager said that the decision to start Inge tonight came down to his "familiarity and success against the pitcher on the mound (Bartolo Colon) more than anything else."
Inge has 27 career plate appearances vs. Colon and has hit .308/.337/.346.
Is Inge the go-to guy in Walker's absence?
The Pirates' manager said that he does not deal in hypotheticals and that they had Mercer, Barmes and Inge who they could rotate in and out. Hurdle did add that Josh Harrison was a possibility if Walker went on the DL.
Jeff Locke scheduled to pitch Sunday, likely unavailable to pitch in All-Star Game
Locke is scheduled to pitch this Sunday vs. the New York Mets and Hurdle confirmed that he will make that start. Locke's Sunday start will make him unavailable to pitch in the All-Start Game, although he would still go to New York. The Pirates manager said that he has not been asked to make any adjustments to his rotation and that he "touched" on the issue with his pitcher.
Hurdle talks Moneyball
Clint Hurdle began his managerial career with the Colorado Rockies in 2002, the same year that the Oakland A's team that is the focus of movie adaption of the book Moneyball was on its way to winning 20 games in row and making it to postseason with a surprising 102 victories. (It is also the last time the A's and Pirates met in Pittsburgh. Oakland swept the series.)
This afternoon Hurdle said that he has seen the movie and that he was not impressed with some aspects of it: "I've got some buddies that were in the movie and not necessarily happy with how they were portrayed in the movie. Far be it for Hollywood to put out a good movie and not move some things around."
To whether he was aware at the time that Oakland was doing some interesting, different things, Hurdle said:
Through conversations you knew something different was going on. How it would play out, time would tell. I think some very positive things have come from it. I do think we need remain creative and open-minded going forward. There are times we need to pay homage to tradition. I do think there was a disconnect, or a misunderstanding about the value of scouting. There's something to be said for scouting.
Oakland A's Manager Bob Melvin discusses Pirates
As his team prepares to play the Pirates tonight, Oakland manager Bob Melvin said before the game that he saw some similarities between how the two teams have constructed their rosters and how its contributed to both teams leading their respective divisions. Specifically, he thinks that "young pitching" is the strength that both teams share.
How you build your roster in the National League is a little bit different, but the pitching - when you look at their pitching numbers they're terrific. Not only their starters, but their relievers. ... they play a lot of close games and they win a lot of those games. Pitching will overcompensate for maybe some deficiencies. But it's the young pitching that is probably the similarity to us.