PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – After watching A.J. Burnett sign with the Philadelphia Phillies, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle got on the phone and called his former pitcher and then talked with Starkey and Mueller about what was said in that conversation.

“I thanked him for his time; I thanked him for the effort; I thanked him for the commitment; I thanked him for everything he brought to us the two years he was here,” Hurdle said.  “He played a role in revitalizing and rebonding a city with its baseball team. As I said to him when he left, I want you to be happy.  My goal is for every player to find happiness in his life, if you found happiness, I’m all for it.”

The Pirates still have some question marks in their lineup going into spring training and Hurdle weighed in on a number of them.

First, Hurdle talked about the possibility of third baseman Pedro Alvarez entering the season as the teams cleanup hitter.

“Pedro put an exclamation point on his season,” Hurdle said.  “Pedro’s made good strides.  It sure is a different conversation we’re having about Pedro now. He gave us probably as good of at bats as anybody in the playoffs, and he’ll definitely be a name you have to consider.”

Hurdle also weighed in on the first base position and what sort of opportunities Andrew Lambo will be given to win that position. 

“Our plan is to get him out into first base as quick as we can. We know he can play the outfield, so we want to get him a lot of reps early in spring training to see the acclimation to first base.  This is a guy we’ve got to take a good, long look at this spring.”

You can also hear Hurdle talk in the interview about the outlook for Wandy Rodriguez this year and whether or not they still want Neil Walker to hit from both sides of the plate after his struggles as a switch-hitter last year.

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