Neal Huntington: McCutchen Making Progress, Walker Not As Good As He Hoped
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 Huntington if there would be any roster moves since the Pirates have been playing with a short bench. Andrew McCutchen suffered an avulsion fracture of the 11th rib Aug. 3 at Arizona, while Neil Walker has been battling back issues.
“Andrew continues to make good progress, Neil not feeling as good as hoped today, but we’ll see where he is at after getting further treatment and working through some things,” Huntington said. “We’ll see where Andrew is at as part of his progression, and make a decision potentially for (Monday) or maybe it’s Tuesday, or who knows, maybe it’s Wednesday.”
Huntington gave a further update on McCutchen.
“We’re through normal, every day activities. We’re through some workout activities. We’re through some strenuous activities. We’re not through diving into second base, or potentially running into a wall, or exploding on a fastball down and away. We’re not there yet, and we won’t truly know until we get him back to being an explosive athlete just how far away we are. Every sign is positive, but we still need to make sure we do the right thing the right way,” Huntington said.
Brown asked Huntington about Pedro Alvarez, who has been working at first base during batting practice. Huntington said that Alvarez still has a lot of upside, and the challenge is how the club can help him reach that. With first base, Huntington said that the club wants to prepare Alvarez for the intricacies of the position.
“No matter what we do, the first time Pedro goes to first base, it’s going to be a little bit uncomfortable for him. But the hope is, we can remove as much of the discomfort, we can remove as much of the doubt as possible to allow him to go play there and be comfortable the first day he goes there,” Huntington said.
Brown asked about the status of Gerrit Cole, and Huntington said that the club was waiting to see how he fared later Sunday.
“The challenge is that we were working on some mechanical things, we were working on some pitch sequencing things with Gerrit, and his focus wasn’t necessarily on just blowing up AAA hitters. It didn’t go as well as we’d anticipated. We’ve had some hurdles along the way with Gerrit, but obviously getting him right, getting him back to 100 percent is going to be important for us as an organization, and his ability to jump in here will help us,” Huntington said.
Reliever Ernesto Frieri, acquired from the Angels for Jason Grilli, was recently designated for assignment.
“This one didn’t work the way that we anticipated it would, and we would make the same move again as we go forward. But with the full realization that it’s not going to work every single time. We still believe that there is upside to this young man. We still believe that he can help us,” Huntington said. If Frieri clears waivers, Huntington told Brown that he has a group ready to help Frieri get back to the majors.