Bill Brink: Welcome to our Pirates chat. We'll get started at 2:30 but go ahead and send your questions now.
Bill Brink: Very sorry about the delay, but we'll get started now and go a little longer.Jeff: Barmes and Barajas BIG mistakes or early season slump?
Bill Brink: For now, early season slump. Until we hit the quarter pole, it's too soon to declare the signings big mistakes. They don't look good given the production the Pirates have received so far, but they were also two of the only options at their positions during the winter.
PhillyJake: Does Gregg Ritchie still have a job?
Bill Brink: He does at this point. A decline in strikeouts, and improvement from those who are struggling, would bolster that position, but similar to the first question, more time is needed to determine his future. He has helped Alvarez adjust his stance to be more productive, and we've seen the results in the past week.
Macs: In your opinion is Marte , All that or are we getting our hopes up too high?
Bill Brink: All that might be pushing it, but his floor seems low. He makes contact, he's athletic, he has a good outfield arm, he's fast. It seems as though, even if he doesn't satisfy every expectation, he will someday be a quality major leaguer.
Macs: Bb, do we have a position player who is a legitimate leader like AJ is for Jmac and others?? It appears we need Amac to fill that role but he seems. Too quiet.?
Bill Brink: McCutchen is quiet, at least from what we see on the outside, but the players and coaches say that when he speaks, his words carry weight and the team listens. Walker also speaks up and leads.
Bill Brink: Can you guys submit questions at this point?
Bill Brink: About 10 of them just came in, sorry about that. Here we go...
MCK: Why hasn't McGehee gotten more playing time? It seems like he's hit the ball well in his very few plate appearances. Why not give him a few more starts at 1B, or was he only signed to be a bench bat?
Bill Brink: His designed role was to work in at first and third if Jones or Alvarez struggled, and Jones and Alvarez have hit well lately. I imagine that when a series of left-handers comes through, or one of them hits a snag, he will get more time and it will even out.
JAL: I see Karstens is throwing, any timetable on his return?
Bill Brink: Not yet, but it won't be soon. He has to progress through long toss before throwing off a mound, then get all his pitches back, then go on a rehab assignment.
Wabbit_Season: I feel like the McGehee / Jones platoon has made everyone optimistic about both players. Could it be that the platoon is serving them well?
Bill Brink: All players want consistent playing time, but if Hurdle can structure the platoon so that they each have two or three starts in a row, the platoon benefits each of them much more. A lot of that depends on the opposing pitcher, but Hurdle has been able to give them consecutive starts.
Kovalcik: It seems the defense has really been disappointing of late. Not only errors but a lot of plays that should have been made. Aberration or is this what we should expect for the rest of the year?
Bill Brink: I will say aberration for now. They work on defense a lot during the season, so things like blown cutoffs or missed opportunities will be addressed.
TomK: Who on this team deserves an all-star nod so far? I would say Pedro and Grilli.
Bill Brink: The way Grilli has pitched, he will be in the conversation.
Seth: My question is why do people bash Huntington's trades, but fail to mention that Hanrahan, Tabata, Morton, Mcdonald. and Karstens all came via trade?
Bill Brink: All GMs will make trades that look great and trades that look awful, with plenty in between. The volume of good vs. bad looked out of whack in the past, but the return from the Tabata trade has improved the overall body of work.
Wabbit_Season: Who is the next man to be called up and into the starting rotation? Will (crystal ball please) AJ Burnett and Cholly Morton deliver consistently?
Bill Brink: Brad Lincoln will join the rotation if the Pirates need another starter. Burnett will deliver closer to his first two outings than his third. Morton will refine his delivery so that he keeps his sinker down. He may get hit a few times, but he will have more solid outings than blow-ups.
Bill Brink: Lineup for tonight: Tabata 7 Walker 4 McCutchen 8 Alvarez 5 McGehee 3 Jones 9 Barmes 6 Barajas 2 Burnett 1
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