Hunter: Can you verify the first date Wilson and/or McPherson can be called back to Pittsburgh without someone going to the DL? My count was August 31st but wanted to verify just because of possible playoff roster implications.
Michael Sanserino: According to Kyle Start, both would be eligible to join the 25-man roster on the 31st. That does not mean they will be added on the 31st, just that they are eligible on that day.
Alan Gifford: who gets called up (or signed) to replace Bedard
Michael Sanserino: I don't think we'll see a signing. My guess is there might be a position player that joins the roster today (perhaps Alex Presley) and the team waits to add a pitcher to take the spot in the rotation. If I had to handicap the race for that rotation spot, I'd say Correia is the favorite, Locke is second, McPherson is third.
Nick: Why hasn't NH added a veteran bat for the bench even by picking up a guy off waivers like B Abreu? He had said moves could occur after July 31st deadline thru August 31st but nothing to date! Bench is awful!
Michael Sanserino: The Pirates, and many teams, have found the waiver wire to be pretty tricky this season. Every team is looking for veteran bench depth. But bench depth is pretty low on the list of woes for this team right now.
Bucco Fan For Life: Afternoon, Reeno. Two part question for you. First, if you were the manager would you insert Correia into the rotation or go with either Locke or McPherson after September 1st. Second, what is your gut feeling on the decision Hurdle will make?
Michael Sanserino: If I were the manager (which I am not smart enough to be), I would go with Locke in the rotation for the remainder of the season. At a certain point, this team needs to start planning for the future (not to say that they should write this season off), but I think they need to take a long look at Locke to see if they can count on him for next season's rotation. I don't have a strong gut feeling right now -- might have a better idea after Hurdle talks to reporters this afternoon. But, as I said before, I think it's Correia-Locke-McPherson.
nycrob: If the team falls apart and finishes under .500, what do you think the mood will be like? Is NH in any kind of hot water?
Michael Sanserino: It will be a pretty depressing/devastating mood in the clubhouse and in the city. It was only a few weeks ago the Pirates were 16 games over .500 and viewed a sub-.500 season as the result only of a monumental collapse. That said, I don't think Neal Huntington is in hot water, nor should he be. There are certainly holes in this team, but his body of work has been successful -- from a 67-win team in 2010, 72 wins in 2011 to ??? in 2012. We are looking at a pretty tangible improvement, even if they fall shy of 82 wins.
nycrob: Based on who we have both in MLB and AAA, what area absolutely needs to be improved on in the offseason?
Michael Sanserino: This will sound similar to last season, but catcher, shortstop, bench depth and maybe a corner outfielder. Depends on how Tabata/Presley progress.
Dan Finnegan: Do you see the Pirates hitters' plate discipline as poor, average or above average?? What can be done to improve it????
Michael Sanserino: Overall, slightly below average. When things are going well, they do a pretty good job at the plate. But when they struggle, they expand and get into more trouble. At times, it is certainly poor. A little more support in the lineup would help.
Bucco Fan For Life: What was Bedard like in the clubhouse? Is he a guy the players will really miss? What was he like with the media?
Michael Sanserino: I liked Bedard. He would never give you great quotes or speak at length, but when the recorders turned off, he was a pretty nice guy with a good sense of humor. I just don't think he was ever very comfortable in the spotlight. As for around the clubhouse, he was a pretty quiet guy.
nycrob: Barmes: 3 e's in a long weekend. Need new glasses? Any other explanation you'd care to offer?
Michael Sanserino: A bad weekend? I don't know if there is a tangible reason we can point to and say 'ah, this is why. fix that.' I know from my own personal experience that one mistake can lead to another -- either because I dwell on it and lose focus or dwell on it and try to overcompensate the next time. I think the latter might be the case for Barmes, especially with his turn and throw last night.
Dan Finnegan: Who's the next starter on the hot seat, JMAC? Any chance that the young guys in AAA will get a chance to strut their stuff when and if they come up??
Michael Sanserino: I've already answered the second part of the question, but as for part one, I'd say James McDonald is certainly the next starter who could see his playing time reduced. There are, certainly, a lot of variables, including the success of the team moving forward. Remember last year, a few pitchers who had piled up the innings were shut down early in September after the playoffs seemed out of reach.
Joe: What are your thoughts on the Pirates (FO or Manager) ability to make a decision. To this fan, they seem to be indecisive. Just this year, sending down Tabata or Presley, the call up of Marte and Clement., Why are Locke and Wilson still in the minors, etc
Michael Sanserino: Joe, this is a tough part of the job/chat for me because I really can't have strong opinions one way or the other. But I can evaluate how those decisions have played out. Presley and Tabata were sent down because they were hitting somewhere in the .220-.235 range, one year after a couple of strong seasons. Presley looked better when he came back, but still needed work. Tabata has not lit the world on fire since his return, but he has been slightly better. Marte and Clement came to the majors and haven't really carried over that blazing AAA pace -- perhaps a testament to how big the jump is between the levels. As for Locke and Wilson, they've continued to excel in the minor leagues while the major league pitching staff has fallen on hard times. Some successes. Some failures, for sure.
JAL: Expect many Bedard questions. Since Bedard's spot won't come up again until Sept. 1 which of the following is most likely: 1-Put Correia back in rotation and call up a reliever. 2-Call up a reliever now and wait until Sept. 1 to activate a starting pitcher 3-Call up a starter now and start him before Sept 1, giving other starters an extra day of rest 4-trade for a starter
Michael Sanserino: Hey JAL. I'm going to go with Option 5 - Call up a position player, especially with Walker's injury, and wait a bit to make a decision on the rotation.
Brandt: Any chance the Bucs try to trade for Dice-K?
Michael Sanserino: Probably not. And I'm not sure that would be a better move than their internal options.
Jeff King: Really hate to pick on Tabata, but I'm not convinced that two of the balls that got between him and 'Cutch should not have been caught. He just seems to be too tentative and just gets horrible angle. Your opinion?
Ryphia: Did anyone ask CH about the status of Tabata's health in a wet outfield last night. It appeared he must have been tentative as his jumps on at least two balls appeared to be awful. He shouldn't be playing if his lack of health out there has a real possibility of costing the team runs.
Michael Sanserino: I picked these two because they seemed to go hand-in-hand. Hurdle said yesterday (before the game) that Tabata's health is still a concern, but it's not to the point it was earlier in the season or even last season, when he went on the disabled list. But he wasn't the only one who looked silly at times on the wet grass last night.
Hunter: Gerrit Cole threw 110 pitches last night. Surprised that let him go that far?
Michael Sanserino: A bit. They rarely allow their minor league pitchers to throw more than 100 pitches.
Jean oertel: With the increase in attendance and some success on the field, will the Bucs add payroll to next years team. And, will they be able to attract a better class of free agent? Thank you.
Michael Sanserino: Yes and, most likely, yes. How much payroll will increase is TBD, but they added some significant payroll this year with parts of Burnett's and Rodriguez's contracts.
JAL: Why do so many Pirate hitters try to pull outside pitches? I thought is was basic baseball knowledge that pulling an outside pitch usually results in an easy grounder to SS
Michael Sanserino: I'll look into this, JAL. My only thought is they are either pressing or getting fooled too often. But I can't give you a definitive answer right now.
Jeff King: Do you sense that part of team's problems is due to them pressing too much? If so, who do think is pressing?
Michael Sanserino: Right now, who's not pressing? I would say Garrett Jones, Travis Snider and Clint Barmes (on offense) aren't pressing right now. But 'trying too hard' has been this team's biggest problem most of the season, and plenty of last year, too.
Hunter: Does Karstens make his next start?
Michael Sanserino: Looks that way. Hurdle said yesterday that there were no 'red flags' for Karstens. That obviously can change, but as of now they are approaching this as a normal week.
Brandt: Is Brock Holt purely a 2B or could he possibly be an MLB SS?
Michael Sanserino: Most likely 2B. He can cover a lot of ground, but his arm strength would be a liability as a major league shortstop.
pghfainstl: Hey, Mike. Nice to meet you last weekend in St. Louis. So, eight weeks ago after a walk off HR by Sutton, the Bucs were (8) over .500. Today, eight weeks later, they sit at (8) games over .500. Which team do we see the last five weeks, the July edition, or August edition? Also, what is the mood in the clubhouse? Are they still upbeat? They have been playing the Cardinals tough lately.
Michael Sanserino: Nice to meet you, too. Hard to pick against the August edition, since that's the way things are trending right now. The mood in the clubhouse is a bit tense, a bit tight. Unlike any other time this season, and certainly not a good indication. That said, a couple wins can change a lot, both on and off the field.
Alan Gifford: your feeling now do we finish above 500 and do we make wild card
Michael Sanserino: Yes and no.
Ryphia: Was a particular reason given for Neil's back to act up? Is this something that we should be concerned with going forward, or an occasional or even one time thing?
Michael Sanserino: No reason last night. Clint Hurdle is the only one who provides medical updates, and he did not have any new information. The back acted up, Walker was seen by doctors and sent home. He was also given some medicine to help him sleep, which leads me to believe he was quite uncomfortable yesterday.
JAL: What rationale would there be more moving Correia back to the rotation? He was removed because he was not performing so moving him back to replace someone released for poor performance makes no sense.
Michael Sanserino: That just seems to be the MO of this management group. They are more comfortable with a veteran presence in those roles than some of the younger guys.
Jeff: Any out clause with Root Sports? The recent new TV rights deals seem to have left Pirates in the dust as far as local TV money goes.
Michael Sanserino: That's a good question, Jeff, and not something I am too familiar with at this point. I will look into it. Thanks.
Hunter: I'm guessing a 3rd catcher will be called when rosters expand. Does Fryer come up just to sit on the bench and be an emergency guy or do they bring up Tony Sanchez who seems to be the best catcher at the AAA level (since there are now multiple spots open on the 40 man roster)?
Michael Sanserino: It will be Eric Fryer. The Pirates want Sanchez to stay with Indianapolis at least through their playoff run.
Jean oertel: Best guess, when will Marte be back?
Michael Sanserino: September 9. He hasn't picked up a bat yet, so it could be some time before he is ready. My guess is he also has a couple rehab appearances.
Joe: Followup to my indecisive question. I wasn't clear in my question. It seems to take them too much time to make a decision that is clear to everyone else. Case in point right now. Why is Barajas still behind the plate more times than not?
Michael Sanserino: What you call indecisiveness, Clint Hurdle calls patience. Literally. This club is proud to profess that patience. Sometimes it pays off (Pedro Alvarez, though he certainly is not cured of all his ills). Sometimes it doesn't (Erik Bedard). Barajas is an interesting case because when he played well for a two-month stretch, the club thrived. He hasn't been the same after the injury.
Ryphia: Is Wandy happy to be here? Also, is he as disappointed in his starts thus far as we all are?
Michael Sanserino: Wandy's a hard guy to read because we have only known him for a month and he has been pretty consistent in that time. With nothing to compare it to, hard to say if he's disappointed, happy, bored, hungry, sleepy, sneezy... I think he is frustrated he is not performing better. And he's said as much.
Bucco Fan For Life: Based on what you hear from other beat writers, are they surprised how so many of us comment all day and during games? Could we be considered as one of the, if not the most passionate fan base?
Michael Sanserino: Honestly, they don't follow the online happenings too often. They are surprised at the number of blogs/online commenters. But most of them usually pay attention to what's in front of them -- a less-than-full PNC Park.
Justin: When is Bryan Morris coming up? Any chance of today or September 1st?
Michael Sanserino: Possibly today. More likely Sept. 1.
Hunter: Are there any guys that might help the Pirates in September that the organization would rather keep with Indy through their playoff run to gain that experience?
Michael Sanserino: Yes, I believe so. But that simply means they don't believe those prospects are ready for the major leagues yet. The Pirates won't sacrifice major league success for a Class AAA title. They will bring up who they need on Sept. 1 and wait for the end of the Indy playoff run to bring up others who could benefit from major league time.
pghfaninstl: Is Drew Sutton still around? If so, could he be a possible call up when rosters expand?
Michael Sanserino: He is still around, playing for Indianapolis. I don't think it's likely he will be called up, because he would need to be added to the 40-man roster again, and I think the Pirates have more pressing needs with their 40-man roster.
JAL: Should we believe the claim that teams do play with the DL? They pick up a reliever. Th day before he reports Qualls pitches. Then Qualls has toe injury to clear a spot for the new pitcher and there will roster space fo Qualls when comes off DL.
Michael Sanserino: Does it happen? Maybe. Does it happen with the Pirates? I can't say that it does. Qualls is walking around with some type of contraption on his foot, so I'm not one of the conspiracy theorists.
Michael Sanserino: OK, I've got to run to get a start on some pre-game coverage. Thanks for chatting this week. I will see you all again (hopefully) next week in this same spot.
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