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Batting order, depth and foreign policy

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Just a few minor notes from spring training . . .

  • Clint Hurdle says that Andrew McCutchen will bat third (sub. req’d) this year. Of course, I’ve never remotely believed that the move to second had anything to do with Cutch’s rough year in 2016. He’s never struck me as the sort of athlete to come unglued because of a change like that. I always imagined the conversation about the change a year ago going something like this:

Hurdle: “We figure you’ll get XX more RBI chances and 18-19 more at-bats hitting second.”

McCutchen: “Shiny.”

  • Hurdle also had some comments about the Pirates relying on their farm system to provide depth this year. It’s not exactly news. In fact, it’s obvious when you note how few minor league veterans they signed this off-season, compared to past years. It’s just good to see official acknowledgement that they’ve consciously made that choice.
  • The Post-Gazette ran the obligatory spring interview with Bob Nutting a couple days ago. There’s the usual “not satisfied” verbiage, which I realize sets quite a few people off. Discussing this stuff is like seeing people scream political viewpoints at each other in comment sections. There were a couple comments, though, that I found interesting in a very small way. For one, Nutting provided a tiny bit more detail than he usually has about conditions at the Dominican Academy when he first took over. (“A poor apartment complex with no food facility, and a fairly beaten-up field, literally with chickens running around in some beat-up grass.”) Whatever else you may think, it’s at least a bit of a relief that he seems to have been genuinely shocked at conditions there, like you’d hope any company operating in a poor country would be. It’s a welcome contrast from Brian Graham’s insistence that they had “the best bats and balls,” not to mention the fact that Kevin McClatchy never visited the facility in all the time he was running the team, and that Dave Littlefield only went there reluctantly because Nutting made him.

Nutting also had this comment, apparently in reference to Graham and Ed Creech:

“In the past we had a scouting director and a development director that couldn’t stand each other,” he said. “Couldn’t be in the same room together.”

So things at least have improved that much.