PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington joined “The Fan Morning Show” on Wednesday to talk about the state of the organization a day after promoting one of its rising stars and losing one of its key veterans to injury.
Huntington told the guys that while he was thrilled with the reception for Gregory Polanco yesterday, the timing of Polanco’s call-up wasn’t ideal. He said is came earlier than he would have liked due to some of the injuries that the Pirates are dealing with.
“Truth be told, it was a little bit anticlimactic,” Huntington said. “We weren’t really in a position where we were wanting to bring him up at that point in time. We feel like he’s ready, but there were still some things we were hoping to get accomplished at Triple-A. He was actually going through the middle of an interesting stretch with Triple-A pitchers that stopped pitching to him, and that would have been a great lesson for him to learn. But, you don’t have time for lessons if you feel like a guy can come up and help you win games.”
The major Dominican prospect whose arrival preceded Polanco’s seems to still have some work to do as well. Starling Marte’s miscues and struggles have become a point of frustration for Manager Clint Hurdle and Pirates fans alike.
However, Huntington doesn’t think that they stem from a lack of effort.
“I think he’s trying to show a lot of people how good a player he can be and justify the contract,” Huntington said. “And sometimes errors of aggression come across as errors of lack of aggression because he’s trying to show people that he’s got this thing figured out.”
He feels that the best way to deal with Marte is to keep giving him opportunities and teach him how to be appropriately aggressive.
“Just keep rolling him out there and keep trying to stay in front of it,” Huntington said. “Just continue to teach.”
Polanco and Marte’s countryman Francisco Liriano has also struggled this season after his solid 2013 campaign. Things only got rougher for him yesterday, as he had to exit the game with an oblique strain.
Huntington isn’t sure of the timetable for Liriano’s recovery yet.
“[The] first 24 to 48 [hours] are strong indicators as to how long we think this is going to be,” Huntington said. “But, these things can be nagging, and we want to make sure we do everything in our power to get him back as close to 100 percent as we can, as quickly as possible.”
The interview can be heard here: