5/7/2014 11:59 A.M. ET
Hurdle working to make most of replay
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Clint Hurdle had trouble Wednesday morning expressing how he felt about his club having been the first recipient of an outcome-changing replay reversal.
Previous challenges have occurred on games' last plays, but the difference Tuesday night was that if the plate umpire's out-call on Starling Marte had not been reversed, giving the Pirates a 2-1 win over San Francisco, the game would have continued into extra innings.
"I'm not pleasantly surprised when something happens, not discouraged when something doesn't," Hurdle said, alluding to the vagaries of replay review. "It's a work in progress -- they continually say that.
"The hundreds of reviewed plays, we have it all broken down, and I've watched every review that has taken place this year. I am just trying to make sense of it. I'm trying to be where I need to be to make the best decision I can make and not be influenced by anything I see."
Bottom-line, the Pirates skipper gave the evolving process a strong thumbs-up.
"It has enhanced the game in a lot of different areas," Hurdle said. "The right calls are being made at the right time more so than ever before."
Wandy has mixed results in rehab start
PITTSBURGH -- Making his second rehab start Tuesday, left-hander Wandy Rodriguez had his ups and downs, any way you look at it.
Rodriguez, on the disabled list with right-knee inflammation, pitched into the sixth inning for Double-A Altoona, which Pirates manager Clint Hurdle considered the most critical aspect of the outing.
"He had six 'ups,' and that was as important as anything," Hurdle said. "And [according to] the report I got, he threw all his pitches. The first three innings were crisp ... nine up, nine down."
In the fourth, balls struck by Bowie's Christian Walker and Kyeong Kang were up: Both lifted three-run homers as the Baysox hung seven runs on Rodriguez in that inning.
"Leadoff walk in the fourth, then his delivery might've gotten rushed a little bit. The numbers are the numbers," said Hurdle, less interested in Rodriguez's pitching line than in how he rebounds physically from the outing. "The last time [following a May 1 start of 3 1/3 innings], the day-after recovery was the issue. We'll see how he responds this time."
Pirates low-key on reports of Polanco offer
PITTSBURGH -- Pirates general manager Neal Huntington had little reaction to reports circulating of a seven-year, $25 million offer to Gregory Polanco that was rejected by the club's top prospect.
"As we have done in prior situations, we will refrain from commenting on any player-specific contract rumors," Huntington said of the reports.
Polanco is tearing up the International League five weeks into his first Triple-A season, batting .395 for Indianapolis, with 28 RBIs in 31 games. Calls for his promotion, by fans and media alike, have increased with the Pirates struggling offensively, particularly at Polanco's right-field position.
The reports allege that the Pirates are holding off on promoting Polanco until he is out of Super Two status range, which would hold off his eligibility for salary arbitration for another year.
Hence, an attempt to establish long-range cost certainty with Polanco would make perfect sense. The Houston Astros were reported to have taken a similar approach with top prospect George Springer, who also rejected a long-term offer. He was called up on April 17.
Such a deal for Polanco, who has yet to appear in the Major Leagues, would set a precedent. From the Bucs' perspective, the closest comparison is the six-year, $15 million deal signed by Jose Tabata in August 2011, in the middle of his second big league season.
Andrew McCutchen and, more recently, Starling Marte have also been signed for long-term deals but both had more service time than did Tabata.
• After missing a couple of games with a bruised right thumb, Andrew Lambo went on Indianapolis' disabled list. This wouldn't represent a lengthy stumbling block were the Bucs thinking of promoting him: The International League DL spans only seven days, and Lambo's status was backdated to Monday.
• Francisco Liriano's 3 2/3-inning Saturday start against Toronto was his shortest (not cut by injury or illness) since early September, yet afterward "he commented that it was the best he's felt all season," according to Hurdle.
The manager made that point to underscore no residual effects of the dizziness Liriano experienced on April 26 in St. Louis or of the groin strain that interrupted his Spring Training preparation.
First number, last word
36 percent: Pirates relievers' save-conversion rate (5 out of 14 opportunities) through the first 33 games of this season, compared to 79 percent (55 of 70) last season.
"We're really good about it if you don't want to interview us. If you all would like to take a day off and bypass the office, you're not going to ruin my day." -- Hurdle, on his team welcoming yet not obsessing about the increased media coverage in the wake of 2013's postseason breakthrough.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.