After two impactful free-agent signings in the offseason and three deadline trades in the past week, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington is generating a lot of buzz for National League Executive of the Year honors.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said it's about time.
"Some other people are catching on to what I know," Hurdle said. "He's passionate, he's selfless. It's been a pleasure to work with him."
After hearing heaps of criticism for the first five years of his tenure in Pittsburgh -- all of those years losing seasons -- Huntington has helped put the Pirates in position to not only break a 20-year streak of losing seasons but also to compete for a division crown.
He still has plenty of critics, in this city and elsewhere. But at this point, he is the odds-on favorite to win the season-ending award.
"I'm humbled to even have people mention it, but we're much more focused on the collective rewards of the hard work of some unbelievable people that have done some really good things," Huntington said. "But we've still got a lot of work ahead of us."
Huntington said the award is more a reflection of the organization's success than any one executive.
"One of the things we remind each other, my job is to make his job easier, and as he said, his job is to make my job easier," Hurdle said. "When you both go to work every day with that thought in mind, it provides some good balance."
Cam Bonifay was the most recent Pirates general manager to win the award when he constructed the 1997 "Freak Show" team that won 79 games with a $9 million payroll.
Left-handed pitcher Wandy Rodriguez said a recent visit to noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews revealed he had arthritis in his left elbow, and Rodriguez said it is still painful when he pitches.
"It's a different pain," Rodriguez said. "It feels like it's in the bone."
But Rodriguez said he will try to pitch through the pain with hopes of rejoining the active roster this month, possibly as a reliever.
"We need to weigh how I feel with their [thoughts]," he said. "It's still the same pain, so maybe I'll go to the bullpen. I don't know. They'll make a decision."
The pain is frustrating, Rodriguez said, and a little scary. He has been instructed to rest, he said, but he is growing tired of that after being placed on the disabled list June 6.
Pitching with arthritis does not damage the arm the way it would a ligament injury, but it was so painful for hall of fame pitcher Sandy Koufax that it led to his early retirement.
"It's a hard situation for me," Rodriguez said. "It's the first time I've been on the DL like that, for three months. Never in my career. I've missed like 15 days, but no more. I see how my team's playing right now, it's very hard."
The Pirates activated outfielder Travis Snider from the disabled list, selected right-handed reliever Kyle Farnsworth from Class AAA Indianapolis and called up left-handed pitcher Kris Johnson Sunday, the first day major league rosters could expand to include as many as 40 players.
The Pirates have 28 players on their active roster with plans to expand to 34 or 35 players in the coming weeks.
Snider has been dealing with a toe injury since July and hit .344 in eight rehabilitation games with Indianapolis.
The Pirates signed Farnsworth, 37, to a minor league deal earlier this month. He compiled a 4.05 ERA in six games with Indianapolis.
Johnson, 28, started Sunday against the Cardinals, his second career major league appearance.
Michael Sanserino: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1722 and Twitter @msanserino.