5/30/2014 10:31 P.M. ET
Platoon of Davis, Sanchez working wonders
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- Baseball managers always say that veteran players who've been on the stage, and don't obsess over playing time, make the best platoon partners.
The Bucs' Clint Hurdle is seeing the proof of that theory in Ike Davis and Gaby Sanchez, who are gang-tackling one of the team's biggest preseason issues.
Since general manager Neal Huntington got his man in an April 18 deal with the Mets, Davis has hit .284, with an on-base percentage of .376. Sanchez, with Hurdle better able to pick his spots, has hit .305 across the same stretch. Together, they have hit .293 in the last 36 games.
"I love the way these two guys have complemented each other," Hurdle said. "Their production is playing well. They have really professional numbers. And there's professional respect on both sides, and that always helps in this type of tandem, when they're pulling for each other. They understand the work conditions of the platoon.
"I just like the way they fit in the middle of the lineup; there is some power, but also the ability to see pitches and take a walk. We had it for a while last year, when Garrett [Jones] and Gaby were switching out in the cleanup spot."
With the Bucs facing so few left-handed starters -- they are scheduled to see only their fifth of the season Saturday, with Hyun-Jin Ryu set to start for the Dodgers -- Davis has obviously gotten the bulk of the starts at the position. And even that has been a strength: Sanchez has headlined the Bucs' top-ranked pinch-hitting corps, batting .368 with four RBIs off the bench.
Cole pumped to hear his win called by Scully
LOS ANGELES -- Gerrit Cole grew up in Newport Beach, Calif., and last June got to pitch, and win, his third Major League start in Angel Stadium.
Cole grew up as a Yankees fan and two weeks ago got to pitch, and win, in Yankee Stadium.
Cole attended UCLA and on Thursday night got to pitch, and win, in Dodger Stadium.
Childhood dreams rarely pan out so perfectly. When asked what was the best part of his Dodger Stadium experience, however, Cole had a quick response: It was still to come.
"Vin [Scully] calling the game, that's something I'll definitely go and watch and hear what stories he's got on me, then wonder how the heck he got them," said Cole, who, as any Southern Californian baseball fan of the last 57 years, grew up listening to the incomparable redhead.
Told of Cole's homage to him, Scully said, "That's tremendous. How nice of him to say that. You can tell him I told the story about him holding up a sign as an 11-year-old at the 2001 World Series that read, 'Yankees fan today, tomorrow, forever.'"
For Cole, the only thing better than having Scully describe his 6-3 win would have been a chance to meet the man. But Scully's work this series is getting curtailed by Saturday and Sunday night's games being broadcast on network TV.
"Maybe next time," Cole said, smiling. "I'll be around here again."
So will Vin Scully.
• Outfielder Andrew Lambo underwent surgery Wednesday, performed by Dr. Thomas Graham in Cleveland, to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb that had him out of action since early May.
Lambo will rehab in Bradenton, Fla., where the process is expected to take six to eight weeks.
• Clint Barmes was back in the starting lineup Friday night -- not because of his three-hit game the previous night, but because Jordy Mercer was getting a second straight night off.
"I'd planned on giving Clint some games here, just to give Jordy a break," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Definitely the first two, then we'll see where it goes."
• It really isn't a mystery why Pirates relievers have 16 wins (compared to the starters' eight) and a well-earned reputation as the Vulture Club: From the seventh inning on, the Bucs have scored the second most runs in the National League (83) and own the highest batting average (.266).
First number, last word
16: Comeback wins by the Pirates, the most in the National League and third-most in the Majors, behind the Tigers and the White Sox (17 each).
"He's going to have a job next year. He'll have a contract that's worthy, with his makeup, the way he works. So it's not like this guy is pitching to stay alive in the Major Leagues." -- manager Clint Hurdle, suggesting that Francisco Liriano, in the final year of his contract, needn't put extra pressure on himself despite still pitching with no wins through 11 starts.
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.