PITTSBURGH (KDKA 93-7 The Fan)- Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington joined Greg Brown Sunday for his weekly show on The Fan. Brown asked if Pedro Alvarez is taking his struggles at the plate to the field, and if the club would ever consider moving him to first base. Huntington replied that the club is better with Alvarez playing at third base.
“In Pedro’s case, we’ve got a young man that cares and that cares a lot, and wants to be an All Star-caliber third baseman and is committed to that, wants to be a threat every time he steps in the batter’s box,” Huntington said. “The league has made a significant adjustment to Pedro. He hit a lot of home runs the last two years, 60-plus home runs the last two years, that gets people’s attention. They’ve studied him, the amount of video, the amount of time, energy and effort, and they found some holes, and they’re working to exploit those holes, and Pedro’s working to make an adjustment back.”
“His defensive struggles are what they are, he’s working through that, he’s working awfully hard through that, he and Nick (Leyva) are working awfully hard through that, and we’ve seen some positive strides as we go forward there as well.”
Brown and Huntington discussed the trade of Jason Grilli to the Angels for Ernesto Frieri. Huntington said that the club will never forget the impact that Grilli made.
“This is where the tough business side comes in. As we looked at the remainder of this year, and as we looked at the fit in the club, the fit in the bullpen, the likelihood of bouncing back, in our minds, Ernesto Frieri has a chance to make a really good impact on us,” Huntington said.
He added that it was a great change of scenery opportunity for both players.
Brown asked about Gerrit Cole not making a rehab start before returning to the rotation Saturday. Huntington said that teams cannot force a player to go on a rehab stint.
“We are always going to believe that it’s better for the player to go compete against a different colored uniform. In this situation, Gerrit had the one sim game, felt that he was getting quality feedback from Gaby Sanchez and Neil Walker, and was allowing him to face high-level competition. He felt good about it,” Huntington said. “We watched it, we felt good about it, we signed off on it. We were a part of it. If Gerrit Cole goes six innings (Saturday) and gives up two runs, we’re not having this conversation.”