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Neal Huntington Radio Show Recap - June 10 2018

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After a flurry of roster moves, the Pirates’ GM had some ‘splainin to do

Pittsburgh Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington talked Nick Kingham, Ivan Nova, Sean Rodriguez and more on his weekly radio show. Here’s a recap of the best bits.

Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington makes a weekly radio hit on the team’s flagship radio station 93.7 The Fan. Each Sunday, Locked on Pirates will bring you a recapping of Huntington’s show, picking out the best tidbits from the show, hosted by Greg Brown. Let’s get started.

All quotes are direct from Neal Huntington as told to host Greg Brown:

On sending Nick Kingham down to make room for Ivan Nova:

“With Nick, he continues to do what he can do. He’s thrown the ball well in his six starts, with an ERA just south of 4 in those starts. Yesterday, the one non-play leads to the two runs. The Cubs did a good job of executing. As we look at Trevor Williams, the last few starts have not gone how he has anticipated but he has performed well. Kuhl has an ERA south of 4...Ivan Nova, if you eliminate the starts affecting by his finger, has been very good and obviously Jameson Taillon has been very good aside from a few rough starts. We have some guys who are working through some challenges...Nick will continue to get his time, but at this time we felt that going with the five starters we kept was the right move, as well as keeping Nick on schedule.”

On potentially using Kingham in the bullpen:

“We are at June 10th, and as we’ve talked about at some point in time -- your sixth/seven starters have been Tyler Glasnow and Steven Brault -- at some point it becomes unfair to ask them to start if we have a need, so to push Nick into the pen at this time would shallow out our starting depth options.”

On Sean Rodriguez:

“Sean is a tremendous person. He is a competitor. He is a really positive influence in that clubhouse among our own players. This is not fantasy baseball. This is real world, and there are reasons for results. You want to give a guy like that as much time as possible to figure it out...you hope you don’t get to the point where you need to move on. We are not there.”

On the lack of a rehab start for Ivan Nova, who returns today:

“We always feel better if a player goes down and has a rehabilitation assignment. The challenge is, it’s not unilateral, and the player has to be on board; has to be supportive. While we worked through the process with nova, we felt the work he’s been able to do with sim games and in the bullpen made us ok with coming back and going right back into the rotation.”

On optioning Adam Frazier:

“The uncertainty with Francisco Cervelli’s injury and how he’s responding day to day...not wanting to put him on the DL just yet...it’s tough not to have a backup catcher..I think Clint is going to do everything in his power to stay away from Francisco today, so we brought up Jacob so we did not leave ourselves exposed without a backup catcher.”

Is Josh Bell trying too hard?

“He is, and this is a can-do league. The players that are able to have long and successful careers find ways to have their bad stretches be short and their good stretches be longer. Josh right now is showing signs of a young player that is trying to do too much. He is trying to hit three home runs in one at -bat. He is trying to make up for the bad stretch over the past 40 at bats or so instead of just being the good hitter that he is.”

Other quick notes:

  • Huntington acknowledged that, on the surface, optioning Frazier down while Cervelli is not on the DL could constitute a paper move should Cervelli not have to go on the DL. However, without being able to backdate Cervelli’s injury, this is not the case.
  • Huntington could not shoot down the idea of the Pittsburgh Pirates using “The Opener” quick enough. When asked why, he reiterated faith in the current starting five as well as the need to move back to a 13 man pitching staff if they wanted to use the opener, a less than desirable option for a team in
  • Huntington intimated that the club is happy with the adjustments that Gregory Polanco has made in a short sample size since being dropped in the order.
  • Huntington feels Jung Ho Kang is ready to be “challenged by upper level pitching” after his impressive showing in Bradenton.