Bob Smizik: Active status of McCutchen peculiar


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Nobody asked me, but . . .

• The Pirates’ decision not to put Andrew McCutchen on the disabled list might best be described as desperate times call for desperate measures. The team seems to be hoping for a medical miracle. The good news is if he’s put on the DL, it will be retroactive to Sunday. The bad news is the Pirates are playing a man short on the bench with no replacement for McCutchen.

• Ike Davis has been the subject of fan criticism since May and understandably so. But with his bases-loaded double last night, Davis is 10-for-35 (.286) with an OPS of about .825 since the All-Star Game, along with two homers and seven RBIs. It’s a small sample size, but it’s encouraging and particularly so because Davis has a history of playing well in the second half.

• Judging from this comment after his poor rehab start Monday at Indianapolis -- five runs, 10 hits, 4 1/3 innings -- Gerrit Cole would appear to be a long way from returning to the Pirates rotation: ''It was definitely not full [effort] because we feel like that was what got me into trouble last time [a previous rehab start].”

• The criticism of Hurdle for not using Tony Watson Monday was ridiculous. Do the complainants seriously believe Hurdle would have employed such a strategy if Watson were ready to pitch? The manager and the pitching coach and possibly Watson agreed an extra day off was the right thing to do. And people privy to none of those conversations say it was the wrong thing to do.

• Good trade: Tanner Roark, a 25th-round draft pick, was acquired by Washington from Texas at the 2010 deadline for washed-up middle infielder Christian Guzman. Since arriving in MLB last year, Roark is 18-8 with a 2.54 ERA.

• How’s this for improvement during the Clint Hurdle era: In 2011 the Pirates were 16th in drawing walks. In 2013, they were seventh. This year they are first. In strikeouts, they’ve gone from second-most in 2012, to third-most in 2013 and 10th-most this season.

• In his past 10 games, Josh Harrison is 20-for-44 (.455) with five home runs and an OPS close to 1.500.

• In 22 games, 20 1/3 innings, with the Pirates, Jason Grilli had a 4.87 ERA, a 1.62 WHIP, a .275 BAA and a 9.3 K/9. In 18 games, 15 1/3 inning with the Los Angeles Angels, he has a 2.93 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP, .224 BAA and an 11.1 K/9.

• Small but ominous sample size: Travis Snider is 2-for-21.

• The blame-the-batting-coach crowd has been silenced this year by the Pirates’ offense. Through Monday, Pirates hitters were third in runs, second in OPS and first in on-base percentage in the National League.

• When the Pirates traded Chris Dickerson to Cleveland and he got off to a fast start, it was deemed a mistake of monumental proportions by a few. Since July 20, Dickerson is 6-for-41 (.171) with a .504 OPS.

• Down on the farm: One-time high-end prospect Luis Heredia, who received a $2.6 million signing bonus in 2010, is 2-4 with a 4.39 ERA and a 3.7 K/9 at low Class A West Virginia. ... Stetson Allie hit his 16th home run last night for Altoona. Allie batted .207 in April and May but since is batting .291 with an OPS well over .800. ... After a slow start following his promotion to Class AA, Josh Bell is batting .385 with an .839 OPS at Altoona. He is without a home run in 77 at-bats.

• Gaby Sanchez, who had a two-run double last night, has been otherwise terrible this season. But the notion put forth by many that his Pirates career has been similar is total nonsense. Against all pitching last year, he was second on the team in on-base percentage and had a higher OPS than Russell Martin and Neil Walker. League-wide against left-handed pitching, he was second in on-base percentage, fifth in OPS and ninth in slugging. No amount of spin can turn such a season into failure.

• In case you missed this comment last month from Altoona manager Carlos Garcia on prize prospect Alen Hanson, here it is: ''Enough is enough. It’s time to grow up, as a ballplayer and a person, and a responsible person will understand what he’s here for.”

• Laugh of the month: Central Catholic running back Riley Redman was ruled ineligible because he turned 19 before July 1. One of the points in his appeal was that he was born prematurely and if he had arrived at his expected due date 19 years ago, he’d be eligible to play football in 2014. Fortunately, the PIAA held its ground and ruled against his appeal.


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