Deal possible for dispirited Correia

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HOUSTON -- General manager Neal Huntington said the Pirates are "open" to trading pitcher Kevin Correia, who said he is not happy with being moved to the bullpen.

But, Huntington said on his weekly radio show, any deal that sends Correia elsewhere would have to make the Pirates a better team.

The Pirates moved Correia from the rotation to the bullpen recently to make room for Wandy Rodriguez, acquired from the Astros Tuesday in a trade. Correia said he prefers to start, and as he faces free agency this offseason, he would command more money as a starter than as a reliever.

But the Pirates would benefit by holding onto Correia, Huntington said. He anticipates the team needing an additional starter at some point, either because of an injury or simply to give another starter some additional rest. And, Huntington said, keeping Correia allows the Pirates to maintain their pitching depth into Class AAA Indianapolis.

The Pirates did not expect Correia to be happy with the team's decision to move him to the bullpen. But Huntington said they expect him to be professional.

"We don't have any concerns Kevin will become a problem," Huntington said.

Pirates eye Indians' OF

With the non-waiver trade deadline approaching Tuesday, Huntington said he believes some players who are reportedly on the market will likely stay put.

He said the Pirates are hesitant to pay a high acquisition cost -- as opposed to a high salary -- to bring in a rental player, or one who likely would leave the organization at the end of the season. The team is more willing, as was the case with Rodriguez, to send multiple high-rated prospects to bring in a player who can help in 2012 and beyond.

The Pirates have been scouting Cleveland Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo, who does not become a free agent until after the '13 season. Choo told Cleveland reporters Sunday that he is comfortable in Cleveland but he wants to win and make the playoffs.

Huntington said, in the past, teams in the Pirates position have "subtracted" from the major league team to add in other areas. But, he said, that is not necessarily what the Pirates are going to do.

Scoreboard watching

After a 4-3 victory Saturday night, TVs in the clubhouse were tuned to the final few innings of a Cincinnati Reds-Colorado Rockies game. Some briefly cheered when Michael Cuddyer pulled the Rockies within one run of the Reds with a two-run home run.

The Reds eventually won, but with the Pirates closely trailing Cincinnati for the National League Central Division lead, some say it's OK to keep a close eye on the scoreboard.

"It would be nice if the Reds could drop one here," reliever Jason Grilli said Saturday night.

The Pirates have a three-game series Friday-Sunday against the Reds, and Grilli said he is looking forward to the showdown.

"We've been battling them," he said. "We want to go after anybody in our division. But we're not quite there. We've got three more in Chicago."

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he would not direct his players to avoid paying attention to the Reds.

"The one thing I am sure of from raising three children, as soon as I tell them not to do something, I know what's going to happen next," he said.

Hurdle said keeping an eye on other teams in the league is a fun part of a division race.

"Distractions can come," he said. "When we eliminate them, we're better served. But, then, who doesn't look at the scoreboard from time to time? It's hard to miss in any ballpark."

McCutchen gets a break

Center fielder Andrew McCutchen did not start Sunday, his first day off free from injury or illness this season.

"He didn't have the All-Star break off," Hurdle said. "And for anybody that's even just tried to go and cover the All-Star break, forget about playing and the home run derby and everything else that goes with it, it's just time for him to get a blow."

McCutchen missed three games in May with a stomach illness and one game earlier this month after he sustained a wrist sprain. Although it was a scheduled day off, he was used as a pinch-hitter in the sixth.

Hurdle said he anticipated finding time off for some of the other starters as they near a stretch of 20 consecutive games without an off day.

pirates

Michael Sanserino: msanserino@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1722 or on Twitter @msanserino.


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