Notes from Neal Huntington's Sunday press meeting

Jared Wickerham

Neal Huntington said today that the organization is willing to part with a prospect to make this year's team better and that they are looking at "all potential options," not just starting pitching.

"We recognize that there are some players out there that would make us better," Huntington said. "We recognize that we've got some pretty good players here. What is the acquisition cost? How much better can they make us? Does it make sense for us short-term, longer term?

"The flip side of that, and I hope this doesn't get parsed, but there isn't a glaring hole for us."

Huntington said the team remains cognizant of the balance that needs to be struck between improving the big league team and maintaining a strong minor league system.

"The quickest way to weaken your farm system is to make bunch of trades where you trade prospects for short-term major league players," the Pirates' General Manager said.

Huntington "comfortable" with internal options in Barmes' absence

With the news today that Clint Barmes has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, Huntington said Michael Martinez will fill Barmes' role for now. He also mentioned Robert Andino and recently claimed Dean Anna as options.

Huntington described Anna as a player that has "had some success with the bat.

"He controls the strike zone and has gap power. [He] can bounce around the field and play a bunch of different positions ... Sometimes the waiver claims turn out to be nothing, sometimes they work out to be a nice solid quiet addition to the organization."

Josh Harrison will also get some time at shortstop. Huntington said the team already planned on giving him some starts, "He'll get more time there now."

Hanson's timeout

In late June, Alen Hanson was left out of the Altoona Curve's starting lineup for six straight games. Huntington said the action was similar to Hurdle occasionally giving a player a "mental breather."

"We felt it was the appropriate time to try to grab Alen's attention a little bit and for him to work on some fundamental things," Huntington said. "That we reinforce to him that there is still a lot of work left to be done. We love what he can become. We just got to get a lot of work done to help him become that."

Hanson had told me the day before his break that he thought he could be with the big-league club sooner than later.

"Pretty soon, I know that. I don't control that [when the organization makes the decision].  It's coming soon, though. I want it to be this year! This year or next year, I'll be there," Hanson said.

Huntington listed "attention to detail" and "overall game" as the things that the organization wants Hanson to work on.

Bell staying put for now

With a logjam in front of Josh Bell at the major league level, Huntington was asked if their was any consideration of a position change for him.

Huntington said that the organization is going to focus on developing his bat and that he will remain in the outfield for now.

"There may come a point down the road, just as it does with every player in our system, when they're blocked by a pretty good player in front of them, [and] you look at that point," Huntington said. "You don't want to make the move too early because who knows, maybe there is something that presents itself a year from now, or two years from now that we need Josh in the outfield."

Huntington has a message for the parents of aspiring pitchers

Huntington said that he was shocked to read that many parents now believe that Tommy John surgery will make their son's arms stronger and are considering having them undergo the procedure before there is problem.

"Parents should do everything in their power to protect their sons' arms and not think that they should go get Tommy John surgery proactively," Huntington said. "If they need examples we'll let them talk to the players and the pitchers that have gone through the Tommy John surgery."

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