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Pregame: Hurdle discusses Martin's health, lineup decisions


Highlights from Clint Hurdle's pregame meeting with the media:

Russell Martin will return to the Pirates lineup tonight. "He is in a better position to play than he might have been the last time we put him in," Clint Hurdle said.

The Milwaukee Brewers ran wild on the basepaths Monday night, to the tune of six stolen bases. Hurdle places most of the blame for last night's problems on catcher Michael McKenry: "We had some shots to throw people out yesterday and didn't convert on the backend."

Perhaps the most interesting exchange from today's media scrum was Hurdle's explanation for starting Gaby Sanchez over Garrett Jones last night, and Jose Tabata over Travis Snider tonight. In yet another indication that he places a lot of (too much?) stock in pitcher/batter matchup statistics (stats that many in the sabermetric community discount because they are drawn from too small of a sample to say much of anything), Clint Hurdle explained that he held Jones out because Estrada "has been a Rubik's Cube for Jones," based on his 3-for-19 career numbers against him. Similarly, Jose Tabata gets the nod tonight because of he is 10-for-21 against Lohse. "There's not a lot of guys in this game that are 10-for-21 against Lohse," Hurdle said.

Fuller Transcript:

What kind of tests did Russell Martin have to go through to satisfy the staff he's ready to play?

He went through a battery of exercises test and drills, he's ready to go. ... I do believe he is in a better position to play than he might have been the last time we put him in.

How long are you willing to [go] short on [the] bench before you DL someone?

From a normal player perspective, I try to give it five days max. That's the first time I've ever gone with one catcher basically for a week. Much of the other world did not know he was not available to play, he would never have been an option. Last night we would have put him in play if needed. That's the first time. We would have put Inge in, or McDonald in [earlier this week].

Was [Tony] Sanchez called to New York in case there had been a rain out and double header?

That was one, one of the considerations. He was there in case we did not feel, I think Russell could have gotten involved at any point in time, he would have, but based on the testing we were doing with him he showed enough significant improvement that day as a 911 call, if not Tony Sanchez was going to be activated.

On the Brewers success stealing bases in last night's game:

At the end of the day, I thought A.J. did, we had some shots to throw some people out yesterday and didn't convert on the backend. I thought A.J. gave it everything he had. Unfortunately Mac wasn't able to make the necessary adjustments.

Why Sanchez over Jones last night? Why Tabata tonight?

Unfortunately Estrada's been a Rubik's Cube for Jones. I decided to try Gaby on him. I think Jones was three for nineteen against Estrada coming in. And Tabata's in there tonight, 10-for-21 against Lohse. There's not a lot of guys in this game that are 10-for-21 against Lohse. ... I've got some flexibility, we've got some flexibility. I will try to get guys at bats in games before they're going to start, pinch-hit opportunity or something like that. We thought that with Jones' numbers he'd be competitive enough that we probably thought he'd go against all three of these guys to finish out (the series).