Jenn Menendez: Thanks for joining me. Let's get started.
Chunkles: Is Cumpton part of the rotation now finally?
Jenn Menendez: He probably should be after yesterday, but there has been no indication yet that he's being viewed as a permanent fixture yet. When the opportunity is there both Hurdle and Huntington continue to mention that Jeff Locke is pitching well now down in Indy, so my guess is we'll see him at some point and then a decision will be made.
James_Pittsburgh: So after the release of Wandy, Pirate pitchers have responded with the exception of Liriano. It would be big if he could get a win in LA for the first game of that series, but how long do we give him until we respond with replacing him with Locke?
Jenn Menendez: I think Liriano will get several more starts to try and find his stride before it comes to that.
James_Pittsburgh: Jenn, I saw Ron Cook's article about Neil Walker this morning and I get that the other Neal (Huntington) has a plan and wants to stick with it, but why would we consider letting a 2nd baseman of that caliber not get his payday? I can only name a handful of good second basemen in today's game...doesn't make sense to me why we wouldn't find a price that's right for this guy.
Jenn Menendez: I don't think it's a matter of not letting him get his payday as you say. It's a matter of whether or not the Pirates can afford what he wants to be paid. My guess is there's a better chance than not the two parties can come to an agreement, but it is business, and anything could happen.
Dean: Please tell us Mazzaro will be returned to the roster soon & not to expect as in April he will again (hold your breath) Vin will not be claimed by any other MLB team?
Jenn Menendez: I think there is a more likely chance he's claimed by another team this time around, simply because of the timing. When he was DFA'd last time, teams were coming right out of spring training with their bullpen set. Now, there's likely a club or two with some need, willing to bite. But remember, he is paid close to $1 million, which was part of the reason he cleared waivers last time.
Datbat: Did we send Tony Sanchez to Indy now that Stewart and Martin are both healthy?
Jenn Menendez: Yes, Tony Sanchez was optioned to Class AAA when the Pirates reinstated closer Jason Grilli.
Jeff: What's the latest on Andrew Lambo?
Jenn Menendez: I'm not sure how close he is to returning to the Indy lineup, but will inquire over the next few days and get it into the blog.
Jeff: Why was Mazzaro designated instead of sending Hughes down?
Jenn Menendez: This struck me as a move not at all based on performance, but on need. Mazzaro pitched over the weekend, wasn't available Monday and Hughes was needed.
Mark: What are the chances the Pirates explore the trade market for a veteran starting pitcher and a shortstop who can hit .270. It appears that these two GLARING needs would help sure up needs and be welcomed with the outfield days away from being a true championship outfield with Marte, Cutch and Polanco.
Jenn Menendez: I think the Pirates will explore the trade market for pitching, but I'm not sure it will reach the level of a top veteran. I'm not sure how much they'd be willing to give up for that. As for the SS question, frankly most of those kind of shortstops are in the American League. I see your point though.
Jeff: Will Harrison get an opportunity at shortstop when Polanco arrives?
Jenn Menendez: Nothing long term. The Pirates put a premium on having a defensive shortstop, which is why they brought back Clint Barmes. While Harrison is a more than capable occasional fill-in, I'm not sure he has the tools to be an everyday shortstop.
Bill: I've seen many comments about keeping Russell Martin. There's no way he doesn't get 3 years guaranteed at around $40M when you take into Ruiz's deal, McCann's, Molina's and inflation. No way Pirates make that type of extension, right?
Jenn Menendez: My instinct is to agree with you and say no way the Pirates make that type of extension. However, that being said I think it will depend on how the rest of this season shakes out. There's so many other factors that would influence whether those dollars were even remotely available.
jake: any chance we ever see a game with Walker at 3rd, Harrison at 2nd, Pedro at 1st?
Jenn Menendez: I doubt that.
Berimbolo: Jenn, if we are sellers at the trading deadline, who is on the chopping/trading blaock?
Jenn Menendez: So much will depend on where the team is in the standings by then - are they realistically still in the hunt? Are they very clearly out of it? I'd be pulling names from a hat without knowing those circumstances.
DevilInLaw: June 6 seems like the most likely date to expect Polanco. Agree?
Jenn Menendez: Trying to figure that date is far more complicated than it probably sounds. I've heard as early as June 6 and I've also heard the following week - June 13.
James_Pittsburgh: Grilli closes the first game back from the IR, Melancon closes the next two...we're not moving towards a closer by committee are we?
Jenn Menendez: I think Hurdle is being very careful with Grilli right now considering he just came off the DL. I think you may see Melancon a few more times, but I wouldn't call that closer by committee.
JamesinNYC: Will Harrison platoon more with Pedro? It seems like the natural fit that nobody wants to admit.
Jenn Menendez: Don't know. But if his bat stays this hot, they're going to have to find somewhere to put him in the lineup.
jake: what is the plan for chris dickerson? trade bait? depth?
Jenn Menendez: Depth still at this point as far as I know, but he's hitting really well and certainly that could come in handy as a trade chip.
Careyad: How long do you think the Pirates will hang onto Travis Snider...seems to be the odd man out when Polanco arrives.
Jenn Menendez: I would agree that he does seem* to be the odd man out when Polanco arrives.
James_Pittsburgh: The bat on my Pedro silver slugger bobblehead that I got from the game on Saturday was broken out of the box...is this a bad omen?
Jenn Menendez: That made me laugh. But I think he'll be OK.
Barry: What are the Pirates going to do with the two open roster spots?
Jenn Menendez: This is a question for Neal Huntington that I'll be sure to ask.
JJ: What if Travis gets hot. Still the odd man out?
Jenn Menendez: that's why I used "seems*" instead of a more definitive word.
JJ: There are two open roster spots?
Jenn Menendez: They have two spots on the 40-man roster, not the active 25-man.
James_Pittsburgh: The month of June looks to be another tough stretch starting off out west and then coming home to the Brewers. Also have the Reds at home and Tampa Rays on the road...will be a crucial month to continue to dig out of this early season hole the Pirates are in. Keep it up Bucs!
Bill: pirates pitchers were so effective at preventing long ball last year. What's changed (aside from Burnett)? Is it ineffectiveness, opponents scouting tendencies? It's been a dramatic difference
Jenn Menendez: Remember, Wandy Rodriguez accounted for 10 of them, and he's no longer with the team. Edinson Volquez is responsible for another 10 home runs, and he's a guy still trying to refine his work and be able to offer up his best every start.
JamesinNYC: Any idea who the Pirates might be looking at in the draft? Being in the latter half vs top 5 makes it a lot harder.
Jenn Menendez: We'll have a package of pre-draft stories this week from colleague Bill Brink who will tell you all about that.
JJ: Did u know where in 3rd place now!?
Jenn Menendez: In the Division, yes and 6 games back.
Guest: With the draft less than 2 weeks away, who do you see the Pirates drafting? Are they looking at a specific position or drafting the best available player?
Jenn Menendez: Again, thanks for the question. We'll have a series of pre-draft stories this week that will answer these questions and more.
James_Pittsburgh: When is the Taillon surgery scheduled? Or is he beginning rehab if its was completed already?
Jenn Menendez: It was completed in April sometime, can't remember the date off the top of my head. Not sure where he is in the rehab process but he's at least a month to 6 weeks removed from the surgery.
Jenn Menendez: Thanks so much for joining me folks. I'll be chatting again on Friday from L.A. probably a bit earlier than noon because of the time zone issue.