PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – With the news today that the Pirates sent First Base candidate Andrew Lambo to AAA, Starkey and Mueller caught up with General Manager Neal Huntington to find out exactly why that decision was made.
“We talk all the time about not making emotional decisions either positive or negative, and Andrew had a tough spring,” Huntington said. “He was the frontrunner coming in to camp to be the compliment to Gaby as the left-handed hitter. Sometimes guys just aren’t ready. In Andrew’s case, he faced a ton of off-speed pitches in fastball counts, struggled to make some adjustments. We saw some positive signs stay with him for a long time, but our job is ultimately to put players in positions to be successful, and in our minds the best way to get Andrew Lambo in a good spot to come help this Pittsburgh Pirates club was to go ahead and send him to Indianapolis, let him take a deep breath, get him back on the right track and hopefully get him back to Pittsburgh at some point in time.”
When it comes to what they’ll do at first base now with a mix of Gaby Sanchez and Travis Ishikawa, Huntington says those decisions will be left in Manager Clint Hurdle’s hands.
“I think that will be something where Clint takes the matchups, based on what each hitters strengths is,” Huntington said. “There may be some games where Gaby’s right on right, there may be some opportunities to share the position versus a straight platoon, and that will really be the right field position as well.”
Huntington also addressed whether or not they’re still looking at finding a First Baseman via trade.
“We always look for ways to improve the club. As we did this offseason, we’ll stay diligent, we’ll stay disciplined,” he said. “The right match hasn’t come available. We walked away from a number of opportunities this offseason because we felt it was either too big of a piece off our major league team or too big of a prospect that the club was looking for in return, and the upgrade wasn’t enough to warrant the acquisition cost.”
We also got updates from Huntington on Francisco Liriano’s status for Opening Day which will be determined by a throwing session on Wednesday, expectations for Edinson Volquez’s first start, the elbow issue for top pitching prospect Jameson Taillon and the recent acquisition of Starter Vance Worley from the Minnesota Twins.
Click the audio link below to hear what Huntington had to say about each of those guys and much more.