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Neal Huntington Radio Show Recap - July 8 2018

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Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington makes a weekly radio hit on the team’s flagship radio station 93.7 The Fan. Bucs Dugout brings you a recap of Huntington’s show, picking out the best tidbits from the show, hosted by Pirates announcers. Let’s get started.

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

On the current state of the club:

“That [Clinging onto any hope of contention] is what we’ve been working to hold on to, no question about that. We’ve gotten to seven games over .500 the first seven weeks of the season; we were doing things that good teams do. Unfortunately, we’ve given all seven of those games back, and given eight more in the loss column. That’s a 15 game swing. This is a really big week for us. And I don’t want to ever over-emphasize how important a single stretch of games is, but this is as far out of a playoff spot we’ve been in July out of 8 years. We are in a situation where we need to take a more realistic club this year.”

On the next week of games deciding if the club will being selling:

“I really want to emphasize that it’s not all on the next week of games, but this is not a stretch where 4-4 would make us feel good. We have fallen behind some teams that are not only ahead of us, but that are beating us. We talked last week how we are not putting a for sale sign, not selling everyboyd, and we still are not. But we are putting ourselves in a position where we are well on the outside looking in, so we need to take a more realistic look. part of that might be, depending on how this week goes....we do need to take a look at the young players, at the guys who have a chance to be her for a long time.”

On his take after seeing Clint Hurdle pull Jameson Taillon from his start last night seemingly in a premature fashion:

“I think ultimately that scenario yesterday with Alfaro coming to the plate is the ultimate second-guess scenario. It’s really easy to second guess a manager for leaving a pitcher in who is pitching well below an average level when going through the lineup the third time through. The unfortunate reality of that scenario is that if Clint leaves Taillon in and Alfaro gets a hit, it’s really easy to second guess him. It’s a really dreaded no-win scenario for the manager. I get Jameson’s frustration. He was throwing the ball so well. And that’s awesome, all of those things are fantastic. And over the course of his career he’s more balanced, the first time through, the second time through, the third time through...but this year there is almost a 200 point difference [in OPS against Taillon] between second and third time through the lineup, and those are real. “

On if the Taillon situation last night would have been handled differently if the team was truly out of contention:

“That’s the hard part, because every game at the major league level matters and counts, and is important. At the same time, you’re right, when you’re not in a playoff environment, where you would do some things differently than if you were in a playoff environment. When you’re out of it, you can look at some growth opportunities.”

On injury updates for several players:

  • There is no significant update for Jung Ho Kang. He remains in a complete rest phase as we works to get past a wrist injury. He will be re-evaluated within the next week.
  • In Neal’s words, Sean Rodriguez “Has really benefited from getting clusters of at-bats in Triple-A. We continue to be in communication with him and the Triple-A staff through Clint.
  • Joe Musgove had a minor infection and should be good to go this week.
  • Chad Kuhl is seeking a second opinion on his strained forearm diagnosis. Huntington commented that “it is our duty to give Chad and give everyone involved every bit of information that we can.”