Neal Huntington: Resting Cole Best Option
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA 93-7 The Fan)- Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington joined Greg Brown Sunday for his weekly show on The Fan.
Starting pitcher Gerrit Cole was placed on the disabled list Sunday with right shoulder fatigue. As a result, Charlie Morton was pushed back to start Monday with Jeff Locke being called up to start Sunday’s game.
“Gerrit Cole with a little bit of shoulder fatigue right now, (Monday) was his day to go. Charlie, wanted to give him an extra day’s rest. This lines up better for Jeff as well in terms of his last turn through the rotation,” Huntington said.
“We feel really comfortable that after the end of that 15 days, hopefully he’s going to be ready to go,” Huntington said. “We thought about waiting a bit longer and seeing if he could go next turn, not this turn, but next turn through, and just ultimately decided it’s a better to give him a little bit longer rest period and hopefully get back out there and strong.”
There has been criticism of Huntington and the organization for not calling Gregory Polanco up to the majors because of the belief that the Super 2 deadline has passed.
“The reality is it hasn’t passed. We truly don’t know. It’s not like May 15th, or May 31st, or June 15th or June 30th. There is no such magical date. It’s based on a percentage, it’s based on a class of service time three years from now,” Huntington said.
Huntington added that the club still doesn’t know for sure that Cole won’t be a Super 2.
Brown asked Huntington if he is concerned about putting too much pressure on the bullpen because the starters are not going deep into games.
“Playoff teams get more than five innings out of their starters every time through the rotation. It’s been an interesting challenge,” Huntington said. “Our starters aren’t doing what we need them to do to be a playoff-caliber team. How long can we sustain that? We’ve got a great bullpen, and they’ve stepped up, and they’ve continually stepped up.”
The Pirates drafted high school shortstop Cole Tucker with the 24th selection in the 2014 draft. But many pundits ranked Tucker substantially lower than that in pre-draft rankings, drawing some criticism.
“We understand the criticism. We talked about trying to play the draft. Cole was very high on our board, but because of the pundits we thought, you know what, maybe we could get him to 39. We’ve had confirmation after the draft from a team within five picks of us, from a team in the early 30s, and from a team in the late 30s, but before us that he would have been gone. There would have been no chance for us to get Cole Tucker.”