PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – The Pittsburgh Pirates are on a roll, and General Manager Neal Huntington joined Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan’s Vinnie & Cook Thursday to explain how they have done it so far.
“We’ve played very well the first two months of the season,” Huntington said. “We’re going to show up every day and keep grinding. We’ll enjoy the process, as Clint [Hurdle] talks about, but we’ve also gotta make sure we keep doing the things that have gotten us to this point.”
“The ingredients are there for continued success, but we’ve just got to go out there and do it.”
The Pirates’ bullpen has been the strength of the team, and Huntington singles out reliever Mark Melancon and closer Jason Grilli for their contributions.
“Mark has exceeded expectations for us at this point in time. We thought he would be a very good late-inning reliever for us, and obviously he has been exceptional to date. We felt that Jason Grilli had the makeup and the wherewithal to go out and compete, to lock down games, and to protect leads. He has also exceeded expectations, and our challenge now is to help them keep rolling,” Huntington said.
The Pirates’ lineup has been much more potent to start 2013 than it was in 2012. Huntington admits that the Pirates had constructed a flawed lineup last season.
But this season, “It’s a deeper lineup with the addition of Russell Martin and the offensive value that he can bring to this organization,” Huntington said. “Travis Snider is coming around. There is not as much pressure on Pedro [Alvarez] to produce, and that’s the ideal offense that we’re looking to put together and help out Andrew [McCutchen]. We want to be a deep lineup that can cluster some hits, hit a three-run homer, and that’s going to allow us to be sustainable offensively.”
Huntington also takes a preview of the upcoming MLB Draft, relives the Mark Appel situation, and gives his keys to success for the remainder of the year.