Huntington: No outside help on offense for now
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If the Pirates offense improves, it's going to do so with the players already on the roster.
"The guys that are going to help our offense are the regulars," general manager Neal Huntington said. "Those are the ones that we've got to get going."
The offense increased its run output slightly in recent games, but still entered a game Sunday against the Houston Astros ranked last in the National League with 2.85 runs per game. Their .277 on-base percentage was also last in the NL.
Two offseason acquisitions, Clint Barmes and Rod Barajas, have played in the majority of games but haven't contributed much in the way of offense. Both are hitting .162 and they have a combined eight RBIs.
Huntington said he felt that their batting average on balls in play would rebound to a level closer to their career norms. Entering Sunday, Barmes had a .175 BABIP, well below his career .249 mark, and Barmes' .186 mark was 92 points shy of his career number.
The Pirates invested $14.5 million in the two players in the offseason.
"There's no question we need them to be more productive than they've been offensively," Huntington said. "We need them to be what they expected them to be. We knew what they were going to be offensively coming in. They weren't signed to come in and be difference-makers for us offensively."
Though Huntington said the Pirates have looked externally for options, the chances of trading for offense at present were slim, especially because the addition of another wild-card spot will have more teams in playoff contention.
"There aren't trades made in April," Huntington said. "There's very few trades of substance made in May, and there's still few trades of substance made in June. Our solutions are going to have to come internally unless we're willing to be less than intelligent and dramatically overpay for someone else's bat."
Erik Bedard said his back felt better after a few days of rest.
Bedard left his previous start in the second inning due to back spasms. He said he took muscle relaxers and underwent acupuncture to relieve the tightness and threw on the field Sunday before the game.
"It locks up, and it'll be painful for two or three days," he said.
He said he may throw today in a light side session.
Huntington said the Pirates would be pleased with a partial season of quality pitching from Bedard in light of his injury history, which includes back spasms that forced him to skip a start in 2008.
"We signed Erik hoping he'd make 30-plus starts," Huntington said. "Track record indicated he didn't. With the financial investment we have, he doesn't have to make 30-plus starts for it to be a good investment for us."
The Pirates signed Bedard as a free agent in the offseason for one year and $4.5 million.
The Pirates placed right-hander Daniel McCutchen on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left oblique muscle and reinstated Joel Hanrahan from the bereavement list.
The team said McCutchen injured himself Saturday taking batting practice.
The Pirates added McCutchen to the roster Thursday to take Hanrahan's place while Hanrahan traveled to attend his grandmother's funeral. McCutchen did not appear in a game.
First Published May 14, 2012 12:00 am