Pirates Notebook: Compromise will be key to McCutchen deal

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The Pirates might have a difficult time signing star center fielder Andrew McCutchen to a long-term deal.

General manager Neal Huntington said Sunday that reaching such an agreement would require "compromise."

"There will be situations in the past, present and future where we are not able to find the common ground," Huntington said when asked about McCutchen's future with the Pirates.

McCutchen will enter his arbitration years soon -- either after the 2012 or '13 season, but he is not eligible for free agency until after the '15 season. That gives the Pirates time to try to reach an extension with him, and, if that is not possible, it will at least give the Pirates three more seasons with him on the roster.

"Andrew McCutchen is certainly a great young player in the making," Huntington said. "We hope to keep him here many, many years into the future. But, if we're not able to find a common ground, we've still got many years left with Andrew. ... We're a long ways away from having to make any decision with Andrew McCutchen. We'll continue to play it out."

Maholm will visit Andrews

Starting pitcher Paul Maholm will visit noted orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews today in Birmingham, Ala., for a second opinion on his strained left shoulder.

Maholm went on the disabled list for the first time in his career this week because of the lingering injury.

Huntington said such a visit is no indication the injury is serious.

"More comfort than anything else, in making sure we're doing the right thing for Paul and making sure, from his standpoint, he's taking care of his career," he said.

Honoring No. 21

Roberto Clemente's No. 21 has been retired since 1973. But outfielder Jose Tabata said recently he would like to wear the number once -- not to draw comparisons to the Hall of Fame outfielder, but to honor his boyhood hero.

Pirates president Frank Coonelly said the organization has not discussed that possibility, though honoring Clemente has come up on a number of occasions.

Coonelly said the Pirates support efforts to try to retire the number league-wide, though Coonelly said such a proposal is not under serious consideration by Major League Baseball. Only one number -- Jackie Robinson's No. 42 -- is retired league-wide.

Coonelly said the Pirates are open to the possibility of having the entire team wear No. 21 for one game to honor Clemente.

"That's something that perhaps could be done -- Clemente Day, perhaps," Coonelly said.

He said any such decision would involve Clemente's family.

Missing baseball

Reliever Tony Watson hoped to keep the game ball from his first major league win Saturday.

But the ball used to record the final out went home with one of the 37,826 at the game after first baseman Garrett Jones tossed it in the crowd.

"He apologized and said he didn't realize it was my first win," Watson said. "It's whatever. It's no big deal."

Watson's teammates took to Twitter to plead for the ball's return, but Watson said he was happy with the three game balls he received from Pirates clubhouse manager Scott "Bones" Bonnett.

"A game ball is a game ball," Watson said. "They go through so many throughout the course of the game.

"You're never going to tell which one you threw with unless you throw it out right there. I'm happy with the three that I got."



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