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Interviews with Clint Hurdle and Jim Benedict

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday on my show on 970 ESPN I had both Clint Hurdle and Jim Benedict as guests.

Clint and I discussed the Pirates' offensive approach (and balancing an individual's approach with that of the team as a whole), Jung Ho Kang's recent surge and managing playing time with Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer, and  Mark Melancon. Our bullpen discussion started with the topic of using a reliever on three consecutive days (which Clint did with both Jared Hughes and Melancon on Monday) and then moved into a conversation about Melancon's peripherals vs. performance. I was honestly a bit surprised at Clint's answer. I also snuck in an Antonio Bastardo question as we wrapped up.

Jim Benedict and I got right into the Mark Melancon topic to kick things off. Jim is a fascinating guy to talk pitching with and we discussed the effort in Melancon's delivery, how that impacts his release point and whether his velocity is going to come back. (Spoiler alert: He does, and he thinks Melancon's "close." Jim knows a million times more about this than me, but I don't expect it to come back, but we did see a few pitches > 90 over the weekend.)

After Melancon we moved on to Charlie Morton ("his competitiveness exploded his delivery" in spring training), Jameson Taillion (best rehab project he's ever been around. Thursday is a "big day"), Clayton Richard (the football delivery, he's ready to go in Indy "Indiana guy pitching in Indianapolis") and John Holdzkom. I can't recommend this one enough. I learn something new about pitching and mechanics every time I talk to Jim. (If I have time this weekend I will try to transcribe these.)