Pirates Notebook: Correia's All-Star selection was not all that surprising
Joel Hanrahan, standing in the Pirates' dugout before the Cubs game Sunday at PNC Park, will be joined by center fielder Andrew McCutchen and pitcher Kevin Correia on the National League All-Star roster. It is the first All-Star selection for all three.
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Another game, another All-Star selection. This announcement, though, was a little less surprising.
Pirates pitcher Kevin Correia said he knew that if Phillies pitcher Cole Hamels, an All-Star selection, pitched Sunday it meant Correia would replace him. So, when Hamels took the mound in Philadelphia, Correia's selection was a formality.
But it was, nonetheless, appreciated.
"To get an opening-day start and then to get to go to an All-Star Game, it's so far one of the best seasons I've had," Correia said.
He joins closer Joel Hanrahan and center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who was selected Saturday, as the team's representatives on the National League roster. It is the first All-Star selection for all three.
When they suit up for the game Tuesday night at Chase Field in Phoenix, it will mark the first time since 1990 the Pirates had three All-Stars. That year, Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla and Neal Heaton represented the Pirates.
"It means we're moving forward in the right direction," general manager Neal Huntington said.
With 11 wins, Correia (11-7, 4.01 ERA) is tied for the second most victories in the National League. He joined the team as a free agent in the offseason and picked the Pirates because they gave him a chance to be a top-of-the-rotation starter.
He has excelled in that position, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
"He established a momentum and a mindset for our pitchers to follow," Hurdle said. "Very rewarding and very deserving for Kevin to be our third player chosen to go."
Third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who was activated Saturday from the disabled list and optioned to Class AAA Indianapolis, was "disappointed and frustrated" he is not joining the major league club, Huntington said.
The Pirates announced Saturday that Alvarez would stay in Indianapolis to help find his offensive game.
He was "not happy," Huntington said.
"I'd much rather have it be that way than somebody say 'OK.'"
The Pirates hope Alvarez can regain the offensive production he had in September, when he was named the National League's rookie of the month.
"That may be our power bat," Huntington said.
While many teams are exploring trade options, the Pirates could vastly improve their lineup without dealing anybody.
The team has nine players on the disabled list and Alvarez in Indianapolis.
"We're looking at adding four or five quality major league players as we near the trade deadline without having to give up anybody," Huntington said.
Relief pitcher Joe Beimel pitched for a second consecutive day. Utility player Steve Pearce started a rehab assignment Sunday with the Gulf Coast League Pirates. Outfielder Jose Tabata started working out Sunday at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla. Shortstop Ronny Cedeno will travel with the team to Houston this week and continue to work out.
But Hurdle is trying to avoid thinking about the influx of players and how they will change the composition of his team. He will handle his returning players one at a time.
"When you take them one at a time, it will kind of slow things down," he said. "I'm not a big fan of multi-tasking. I think it makes you multi-mediocre."
Few general managers have been criticized as much as Huntington since the Pirates hired him in 2007. Few general managers are respected as much as the Cubs' Jim Hendry.
One of the two stands a good chance at being fired this season. It probably won't be Huntington.
That made this exchange Sunday afternoon at the PNC Park press box interesting: As Huntington spoke to a mob of reporters, Hendry walked past and bellowed, "That Huntington, he's doing a hell of a job."
The Pirates, who had the fourth-lowest opening-day payroll, are one game out of first place in the NL Central heading into the All-Star break. Hendry's club, which had the sixth-highest opening-day payroll, is 12 games out of first place in the NL Central.
First Published July 11, 2011 12:11 am