Monday, May 23, 2011

Off Day Thoughts

-- Hey, probably a good thing the Bucs are off; in a meteorological stunner, it's raining in Pittsburgh as GW types. Charlie Morton, who came from Atlanta, will face Jair Jurrjens to open the Braves' series tomorrow night.

-- There may not be a Nate McLouth sighting during the three game set. He left yesterday's contest with a tweaked oblique.

-- There's been a big flap made over the Pirates putting out a fake story about Pedro Ciriaco being hurt. In truth, he was being held out awaiting a trip to Pittsburgh as Pedro Alvarez's replacement, all chronicled by's Jen Langosch.

As excellent at marketing as the organization is (and it's quite good), that's how Neanderthal they are at PR. They do often suffer undeserved shots for being close mouthed; it's not like the Penguins and Steelers are very forthcoming when it comes to injury or player movement info, either. Heck, the CIA has looser lips than most pro sports teams.

But as they've shown, exemplified by last year's contract extensions of JR and Neal Huntington, they take stonewalling to extremes for no discernible reason. In fact, their reticence to share even basic information with no competitive impact creates a story where none exists.

Our guess - and it's just that, a guess; there are other plausible scenarios - is that on Friday morning, the Bucs were unsure whether or not Alvarez's injury would require him to go on the DL.

Covering their bases, they told Indy to sit Ciriaco; no sense in him risking injury just before his possible call-up. The FO likely asked the Tribe to keep the info under their hat until it they were sure about El Toro's status, and it all took off from there.

Hey, all the minor league flack had to tell the press was that Ciriaco was sitting as a manager's decision and leave it at that, especially since the Pittsburgh writers by the afternoon were virtually certain that Alvarez was going to be DL'ed and Ciriaco recalled on Saturday through various clubhouse leaks.

The Pirates are pinning the blame for the cock-and-bull tale on a minor-league minion. Even if that was the case, the FO should have given the Indy mouthpiece a clearer directive, as ESP was probably not part of the job description. And we all know that CYA traditionally entails rolling the rock downhill.

There are professional ways to handle day-to-day situations. If you want to keep injuries and player transfers out of the papers for as long as possible for some nebulous competitive reason, do it - every other team in town does without consequence. But don't try to hide the mundane, everyday ebb and flow of news; playing games with the media only sullies the team's perception to the fans, and that certainly isn't the goal of the Pirate PR department.

-- We're beginning to like Clint Hurdle's approach to attacking the basepaths, despite the occasional Lastings Milledge moments.

More guys are getting to third on singles to right, runners on second are tagging, the Bucs are hustling down the line and taking hard turns at the corners, there are more we only wish the FO would get him a couple of more players that actually have wheels to see what a real go-go team looks like.

-- Kevin Creagh of Pirates Prospects has a post on Altoona's young gun OF Starling Marte, pegging him a potential "Ichiro-lite."

-- Zach Duke, who broke his hand during spring training on a comeback liner, has a rehab start scheduled in AAA today and may join the D-Back rotation by the weekend according to's Anthony Fenech.

-- And to show what kind of summer it's been, the rain has blown over, the sun is out, and the birdies are chirping as GW finishes typing. So no matter what the weather person predicted for today, it's happened.

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