Pirates notebook: Team still looking for more runs

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CINCINNATI -- The Pirates' record and their run production do not fall in step, and manager Clint Hurdle was is aware of it.

Despite batting .223 with runners in scoring position, a mark better than only the Seattle Mariners in the majors, the Pirates had the fourth-best record in baseball entering their game Wednesday night against the Cincinnati Reds.

"The fact that we haven't done what we're capable of doing with runners in scoring position, even as far as making good outs, scoring people, it will take it's toll if it doesn't get corrected," Hurdle said.

Hurdle has seen it both ways.

The St. Louis Cardinals, owners of baseball's best record this season, have hit a league-leading .340 with runners in scoring position and lead the league with 5.0 runs per game. In 2007, Hurdle's Colorado Rockies chased the Arizona Diamondbacks, who won the National League West Division despite averaging 4.40 runs per game, the third-worst mark in the league.

"We're pushing it as much as you can push it," Hurdle said. "I don't think that [we're] going to be able to push it for a 162-game season. I just don't. There's got to be more offense along the way, and I believe there will be. We just got to take it upon ourselves to make that happen."

The Pirates rank 11th in the NL in on-base percentage and slugging percentage in addition to runs per game. The required adjustment, Hurdle said, need not be physical -- or even a change at all.

"We need to do a better job of competing within the batter's box," Hurdle said.

"These guys get it. And not chasing, to a man. That comes down to discipline. That's not changing a swing. That's not changing a stance. That, more or less, is a mindset."

More scoring will remove some of the pressure from the pitching staff and allow the relievers used in high-pressure situations to take more nights off.

Burnett update

A.J. Burnett, on the 15-day disabled list because of a minor tear in his right calf, has focused on strength and flexibility in the muscle, Hurdle said.

"As far as his rehab goes, he didn't want to do anything as far as moving around other than strengthening, loosening and working on the flexion part of it," Hurdle said.

"I think we'll know more [today] about what his next step will be."

Promotions for Allie, Heredia

The Pirates promoted Stetson Allie, a converted pitcher who tore up the South Atlantic League, to Class A Bradenton Wednesday.

Allie, 22, hit 17 home runs for West Virginia and managed to hit .324 despite striking out 79 times in 244 at-bats. Allie was drafted in the second round in 2010 as a pitcher, but the Pirates have converted him to an infielder.

The Pirates also moved right-hander Luis Heredia to West Virginia, his first foray into a full-season affiliate. He started the season in extended spring training so the Pirates could limit his workload.

While with short-season State College in 2012, Heredia, 18, had a 2.71 ERA in 661/3 innings. He struck out 40 and walked 20.

Zagurski takes free agency

Left-hander Mike Zagurski, designated for assignment Saturday by the Pirates, cleared waivers and elected free agency.

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Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and on Twitter @BrinkPG.


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