Former players Bill Mazeroski and Bill Virdon were both in the Pirates clubhouse this afternoon. They had lockers set up for them next to Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker’s, and were on the field this afternoon for batting practice. Manager Clint Hurdle said they will join the club on the bench this homestand and may possible help out on some road trips this season.
“I’ve been searching for ways to just add value to just everything we do throughout the season,” Hurdle said. ” I thought it might be nice when talking with these men when we left spring training that we just didn’t stop there with it. That we find time during the season that made sense for them to bring them back in…This isn’t a fantasy camp thing. This isn’t spring training. We’re going to have them here to help coach and teach…We’ve always talked to Maz and Bill about joining some road trips sometime. This isn’t an autograph signing. This isn’t good will. This isn’t community outreach. We brought them in for specific reason for them to bring us something that hopefully we can give something in return. Everybody wins.”
The impact and teachings that these former players can provide to the team –especially help the young players grow can make a big difference.
“Those are two Major League players,” Hurdle said. “One of them in a Hall of Famer. One of them is a Rookie-of-the-Year. They’ve got great ties to our organization. They’re part of our history. They’re out of our spring training environment. These games count…Going on the field, doing some coaching and then staying in the dugout through the game. They’re here to help me and my coaches help grow up these young men on the field, in the dugout and in the clubhouse. I couldn’t be happier that both of them were able to make it here.”back
Former Bucco Ryan Doumit returns to Pittsburgh for the first time since the club declined his option for this season.
“We know him. He knows us,” Hurdle said. “We’ll wish him well when he leaves. He made contributions here. He gave it everything he had last year for my first year here so I’m appreciative of that. He put a lot of time and effort, energy and passion into the Pirates organization. Once the game starts, we’re going to try and get him out. It’s always nice to see him before the game and say hello.”
With Interleague play still in effect, the Pirates will face the Minnesota Twins for a three game set. The Bucs will have the challenge of facing three pitchers on the bump that they are not familiar with in Scott Diamond, Francisco Liriano and Liam Hendriks. The Twins are at PNC for the first time since 2006 when they swept the Bucs in a three-game series in June.
“You look at the tapes so at least there is some familiarity of seeing on tape, the repeating of the motion,” Hurdle said. “Try to get some tape from behind the catcher as well so you can actually see the pitcher full-front. 95 percent of all tape work is done from center field. It’s always been mind boggling for me from a hitters perspective. When I got to Texas, I flipped around for the hitters so they see the front of the pitchers that are throwing. Scouting report, you do rely heavily upon because these guys have been out advancing, as far as selection of pitches, uses of pitches, count usage, things of that nature.”
— Andrew McCutchen has a Major League leading .458 average against left-handers this season, including 19 hits in his last 34 at-bats. Pittsburgh has gone 8-1 in games started by a southpaw on the mound.
— Pedro Alvarez homered twice Saturday and Sunday, marking the second time that he has had multiple home runs in consecutive games in his career (Also July 20-21 in 2010). The only other Pittsburgh player has had two or more home runs in consecutive games multiple times is Hall-of-Famer Ralph Kiner (Twice in 1947 and once in 1949).
— Pirates lineup: Jose Tabata 7, Josh Harrison 9, Andrew McCutchen 8, Casey McGehee 3, Neil Walker 4, Pedro Alvarez 5, Rod Barajas 2, Clint Barmes 6, Kevin Correia 1
Twins lineup — Denard Span 8, Ben Revere 9, Josh Willingham 7, Justin Morneau 3, Trevor Plouffe 5, Ryan Doumit 2, Brian Dozier 6, Jamey Carroll 4, Scott Diamond 1