Pirates Notebook: Hurdle envisions big moves in future

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MILWAUKEE -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle certainly is candid -- and forthright with his opinion at times.

In a way, maybe he's sending a message to his bosses.

That is to say, if the Pirates get to the point of being in the hunt for a National League Central Division title -- even at midseason -- he would appreciate the front office making a high-risk, high-reward, in-season move.

Take Hurdle's words Friday, for example. He was asked a fairly innocuous question about how the Milwaukee Brewers have drafted and developed talent.

And the answer turned into a song of praise for general manager Doug Melvin, who in July 2008, with his team in contention around the All-Star Break, traded Rob Bryson, Zach Jackson, Matt LaPorta and a player to be named later (it turned out to be Michael Brantley) to the Cleveland Indians for pitcher CC Sabathia.

The trade came the season after the Brewers snapped a spell of 15 seasons without performing above .500.

"I loved the action a couple of years ago when they brought CC in," Hurdle said. "They rolled the dice, threw it all out there, I loved that move. I loved that move for the organization, for the city, for the fans, for the ball team. They've put a foot down here and have some traction going in their own way."

The follow-up question was an easy one.

Hurdle was then asked if he thought a similar move will ever happen with the Pirates.

"Time will tell, No. 1," Hurdle said. "And I do think there will be some changes that take place in the future. I do think a different perspective has taken hold. I do think there is an opportunity for a different mindset to come into play. But you've got to do it.

"People are going to rumble and mumble and hold onto their thoughts until there's tangible evidence of change. And I believe it will happen."

Juggling catchers

There's a method to the way Hurdle has been juggling his catchers, Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder -- even if Hurdle knows that it doesn't always seem easy to figure out.

On Friday, Snyder started his 17th game of the season while Doumit has started 18.

This goes deeper than just the lefty-righty thing, as Doumit hits from both sides and Snyder is a right-handed hitter.

"I'll be out in the street and buying something and people have tried to figure it out, one guy actually asked me the other day, 'Are you doing a reverse platoon,' " Hurdle said. "I said, 'Well, if you can explain to me what a reverse platoon is, I'll answer.' There's a number of things we're putting in."

And those are?

"We're looking at pitcher's ERA," Hurdle said. "We're looking at their matchups with the opposing pitcher, what their offensive numbers are ... three or four different things, just look at everything."

It isn't, however, always married to numbers.

"We all can outthink ourselves," he said. "And I'm just making sure I don't do that."

So he explained that he might, on occasion, go against conventional wisdom -- and the numbers.

Meek to begin rehab stint

Relief pitcher Evan Meek, who is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list from a right shoulder injury in April, will begin a minor league rehabilitation stint today at Class AAA Indianapolis.

Meek, the club's eighth-inning specialist, was 0-1 with a 5.63 ERA as he pitched eight innings in 11 appearances in the first month of the season. He allowed 12 hits and five earned runs in those eight innings. Meek was placed in the disabled list April 30, a move that was retroactive to April 27.

Buried treasure

• Starting pitcher Ross Ohlendorf (rehabilitation from a strained right shoulder) threw 25 pitches -- on flat ground -- from 60 feet Friday at Miller Park. He said he experienced no pain.

Colin Dunlap: cdunlap@post-gazette.com .


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