Much of this comes via Thunder, who knows all and sees all . . . .
— This may be the most predictable event of the pre-season:
Per sources, Joe Musgrove was evaluated by the medical staff after his bullpen session was cut short Sundayhttps://t.co/vlQXanWVTZ— Lance Lysowski (@LLysowski) February 18, 2018
Neal Huntington was spotted shortly afterward on a sunny day in Bradenton:
— Huntington and Clint Hurdle dealt further with the culture wars. You can pick up the highlights easily from Bill Brink’s twitter feed, twitter.com/brinkpg. Huntington at least is doing better at the narrative thing, focusing on getting more playing time for young players. Among his comments:
Somebody believed in David Freese as a [ninth]-round pick and gave him a chance to be a regular with the [St. Louis] Cardinals. Somebody traded for Josh Harrison and gave him a regular job.
“The free agents have better backs of baseball cards, and that might pacify some people in the short term,” Huntington concluded, “but, really, we’re out here to win games and we believe in a lot of these players.”
That latter one is the sort of comment that sends into a rage the fans who are inclined to slam Huntington for the brand of bottled water he drinks. The fact is, though, he’s right. What’s more likely to help the Pirates inch closer to winning a title: Giving 450 ABs to Melky Cabrera or giving them to Jordan Luplow? The tougher questions, though, are first, whether Huntington will have the courage of his convictions, which he often hasn’t in the past, and second, whether the team will make the needed investment if/when it gets back to where it was three years ago.
— There is, evidently, some accountability for potentially causing the team’s health insurance rates to increase. We already knew that there’d been a restructuring in the training staff. Hurdle said the players had “inspired” some of the changes. Huntington elaborated a bit more. The team apparently really wanted Brian Housand as head trainer. Todd Tomczyk got kicked upstairs to “free . . . him up to be more of a leader,” in Huntington’s diplomatic terms. Huntington was a bit less opaque about the non-renewal of strength and conditioning coach Ricky White, saying the team hadn’t gotten the “output” it wanted.
— Not everything has been negative. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow had some positive words about Colin Moran:
“But I think had he been given that opportunity, I think he would have hit .300, I think he would have hit for power,” Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “We might not have traded him because we might have wanted to figure out a way to keep him on our club.”
Of course, it’s possible Luhnow is just eager to stay on Huntington’s Christmas card list, but this might be sincere. Luhnow does appear to believe in the adjustments Moran made last year.