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Thread: Russell pushes to 'break streak'

      
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    Default Russell pushes to 'break streak'

    Spring training: Russell pushes to 'break streak'
    Pirates' manager shrugs off contract, says he is 'excited' for future
    Sunday, March 21, 2010
    By Dejan Kovacevic, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
    Peter Diana/Post-GazettePirates manager John Russell has a 129-194 record with the club in two seasons.SARASOTA, Fla. -- John Russell is entering his third season as the Pirates' manager, having overseen a 129-194 record, two last-place finishes, an extension of the franchise's losing streak to 17 seasons and more roster overhaul than any of his peers in Major League Baseball.

    He answered questions about the upcoming season, his contract status, his even-keel demeanor and his goal for the current players to end the streak in an interview Friday with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    Q: As manager, what has made this spring training different than your first two?

    A: The biggest thing is knowing that this is the group we have. We're not in the talent-accumulation mode anymore. The guys we have in spring training are the guys we're going to be with all year. There could be injuries or small changes, but we're ready to move on. We have control of these players for a lot of years. We don't have to worry about trading Andrew McCutchen or Garrett Jones. We're past that. We get to build with this team.


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    Today
    Game: Pirates vs. Tampa Bay Rays, 1:05 p.m., McKechnie Field, Bradenton, Fla. RHP Daniel McCutchen vs. RHP Andy Sonnanstine. Other pitchers: Vinnie Chulk, Octavio Dotel, Chris Jakubauskas.

    TV, radio: FSN Pittsburgh, FMNewsTalk 104.7.

    Camp roster: 45 players, including 24 pitchers, five catchers, nine infielders, seven outfielders.

    Injuries: RHP Joel Hanrahan (elbow), INF Ramon Vazquez (shoulder).

    Opener: 15 days until the Los Angeles Dodgers at PNC Park.


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    I'm excited about that, and I think that's the biggest difference.

    Q: I know your focus has to be on the present, but can you allow yourself to dream a bit when you see an elite prospect like Pedro Alvarez here? Or Jose Tabata? Do you think about the lineup you might be able to fill out someday?

    A: I don't think it's a dream. It's reality. That's who we have, what we're excited about and what we've been building toward. It's not only those two, but Brad Lincoln, Gorkys Hernandez, Starling Marte ... it's not a matter of hoping we get some good prospects. They're here. And they're close. When these guys are ready, they're going to have a spot in Pittsburgh.

    Q: The numbers would suggest offense should be a concern. Can this team hit?

    A: Yeah, and I think we've shown some of that this spring. You don't want to get caught up in spring evaluations. But Cutch and Andy LaRoche and Lastings Milledge are swinging like they did last year, Jeff Clement's coming along and not chasing as much, Garrett Jones is a threat, Ryan Doumit is getting locked in, Aki Iwamura can add a dimension for us ... so, yeah, we'll hit.

    The biggest thing is taking advantage of situations, and that's been our big goal down here. A runner at second has to get moved over, and you have to find a way to get him in. We're starting to see a little power surge with some of the guys coming up, which is a good thing for any organization, but those little things are going to be big for us now.

    Q: Especially as it relates to McCutchen hitting leadoff or maybe dropping to No. 3, but also with Jones now at No. 3 and Doumit at cleanup, you'll still have to be flexible about your batting order well beyond opening day, won't you?

    A: Absolutely. We're always going to look at the lineup and see how we can make it more efficient, score more runs. That's one of the things I like about this lineup, that we have guys we feel can move into different spots and help us come up with a 3-4-5-6 or a 2-3-4-5 that works.

    Andrew is the type of player ... who knows where he's going to end up? Aki's another one. Maybe he's a quality three-hole hitter. Garrett could be cleanup.

    We'll play around with it. We're going to look, in some cases, for the lineup that fits best just for a given night.

    Q: You are entering the final guaranteed year of your contract. Is that on your mind?

    A: No. I've never even thought about it. I can't. I have a job to do. The day you start worrying about your job is the day you're not going to have a job anymore.

    We have great support from Bob Nutting, from Frank Coonelly and Neal Huntington, and the players are on board with what we're doing.

    I've always been a big believer that, if I do my job, that I don't need to worry about it.

    Q: Given the experience that was traded away on your watch, is there a fair way to evaluate what kind of manager you are?

    A: You know, it's been a challenge in a sense. But I believe in staying the course and trusting what you do, not only as a manager but also our whole staff. And that's what we tell our players: Trust the process.

    We've got a good process in place. We've changed the culture. They know what we're about. They know we play hard baseball. And, when there are changes, you have to kind of start over again, so that is is a challenge.

    But, all through the turnover and everything else we've been through, I've always maintained a belief in what we're doing and where we're going. That's rock solid. And that's never going to change.

    Q: You're not the most animated manager in baseball, you don't come out to argue many calls with umpires, and you've never ripped first base out of the ground or anything like that. Some say it looks like you don't care. Is that an accurate portrayal?

    A: Obviously not. People say I don't say anything, but we're talking in the dugout constantly. I have a good relationship with my players, and a big thing for me is to get to know them, about their personal lives and families. I think that's important.

    As far as arguing, there's going to come a time. We're not the kicking boy anymore, and I'm not going to let us get pushed around. We're getting to that point now. I'm not going to let things go anymore because we're a young team. You pick your spots.

    But to answer your question again, if people say that about me, then they don't know me. I'm passionate about the game, about my players, about the city, and about bringing winning baseball back.

    I don't know how much more animated I'm going to be this year, but it's getting to the point where I'm feeling good about our club now. We're not going to be walked on.

    Q: Can you imagine how Pittsburgh might react to winning baseball?

    A: It will be phenomenal. The city has great fans, and I really saw a lot of that this with our Winter Caravan and PirateFest, the energy that's there for Pirates baseball.

    I've told the players this: I would love nothing more than for this group to be the one that breaks the streak. For me, personally, I'm not going to love it until we make the playoffs and win a World Series. For the players, though, I think it would be great for them to be the ones identified with breaking the streak, and it's going to be fun when it happens. And beyond that, too.

    People talk about all the talent the Rays and Twins have, and you start looking at our system ... it's going to happen. And it's going to happen more quickly than most people think. This is going to be a fun year.



    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10080...#ixzz0ioHHSuqc
    Are these morons getting dumber or just louder-Mayor Quimby

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    Default Re: Russell pushes to 'break streak'

    I dont know. IF:

    1. IF the Pirates rotation can perform adequately, and by that I mean Ohlendorf pitching as well or better than last season, Maholm pitching like he's capable of (like the season prior to last year), Duke pitching like the first-half Duke, and Morton pitching like he has his last two spring starts...and MCCUTCHEN pitching like the consistent, albeit unspectacular 5th starter he is...............

    2. IF the pen can be consistent at the back end (from Hanrahan to Meek to Dotel) and have some reliable arms in the middle................

    3. IF Milledge, McCutchen, Jones, Clement, and LaRoche can grow together to provide us with young offensive firepower---not just from the HR stand point---and then with likely additions of Alvarez and/or Tabata...........(I think that the above can/should be able to average 20 HRs a piece).

    4. IF Doumit could actually stay relatively healthy and produce...........

    5. IF the defense can hold up...even if its not as good as last year..............

    THEN...maybe we're looking at a half-way decent team. If we can get a slightly above average rotation with a slightly above average bullpen...and we can get even fair offensive production out of our lineup....then we could actually have a good season. Its certainly possible.

    Its more than possible to see:
    Duke= 4.00 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
    Maholm= 3.8-3.9 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
    Ohlendorf= 3.9-4.0 ERA, 1.20 WHIP
    Morton= 4.00 ERA, 1.3-1.35 WHIP
    McCutchen= 4.2-4.3 ERA, 1.4 WHIP
    (They would all have to have career years, but they have all shown capable of those years)

    It is more than possible to see:
    McCutchen= .300, 20 HRs, 80 RBI, 90-95 R
    Iwamura= .280, 5 HRs, 80 R
    Jones= .280-.290, 30-35 HRs, 85-95 RBI, 75-85 R
    Milledge= .260-.275, 20 HRs, 70-80 RBI
    Clement= .250-.265, 15-18 HRs, 65-75 RBI
    LaRoche= .250-.265, 15-18 HRs, 65-75 RBI
    Doumit= .275-.285, 20 HRs, 75 RBI



    We'll find out...but at least there is SOME potential with this team. The frustrating thing has been that there has BEEN potential in the PAST but one WHOLE aspect of our game completely fell flat. Whether it was us getting great pitching but absolutely ****ty hitting...or if the hitting was there (Bay-McLouth-Nady) but the pitching just being terrible...its always been something being TERRIBLE. IF we can avoid that and everything else is just good/decent we can have some success for sure.

    Is it April yet?
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    Default Re: Russell pushes to 'break streak'

    If a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his *** every time he hopped.

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    Default Re: Russell pushes to 'break streak'

    There's no fvcking way Jones is going to hit 35 HR, nor Milledge 20.
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    Default Re: Russell pushes to 'break streak'

    Quote Originally Posted by PittFaninVa View Post
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    If a frog had wings he wouldn't bump his *** every time he hopped.

    My personal fave: When "ifs" and "buts" are candy and nuts, what a fine Christmas we'll all have.
    Free your *** and your mind will follow.
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    Default Re: Russell pushes to 'break streak'

    Milledge hit 14 hrs in his only full season and seems to be better now. @0 isn't impossible. 35 maybe a little high for Jones but he did he 21 in a half season so you never know.

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    Default Re: Russell pushes to 'break streak'

    I am just going to sit back and enjoy this season without any expectations. This is the first full season with this group playing together, so next year is when I will start having expectations for this team.
    I would love to see them win this year, but I am looking to see how they come together, knowing they will be together all year.
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    Default Re: Russell pushes to 'break streak'

    Quote Originally Posted by Steelreign View Post
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    I am just going to sit back and enjoy this season without any expectations. This is the first full season with this group playing together, so next year is when I will start having expectations for this team.
    I would love to see them win this year, but I am looking to see how they come together, knowing they will be together all year.
    I for one, don't expect this whole group to stay together. If Doumit stays healthy, I suspect he'll be traded by the deadline. Same goes for Duke or Maholm or both. So while I don't hold any expectations either, if they don't win, there will be moves. Guys like Alvarez, Tabata, and Lincoln will certainly make their debuts this year and depending on how they fare, we could see D'Arnaud, Sanchez, and maybe Alderson.

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    Default Re: Russell pushes to 'break streak'

    That's one impressive list of "ifs".

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    Default Re: Russell pushes to 'break streak'

    Quote Originally Posted by Lup View Post
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    Milledge hit 14 hrs in his only full season and seems to be better now. @0 isn't impossible. 35 maybe a little high for Jones but he did he 21 in a half season so you never know.
    This is also why I said everyone would essentially have to have career years...Jones would have to NOT be a fluke...and IF he wasnt/isn't a fluke then 30-35 HRs should not be out of the question (He was on pace--if he had 500 ABs--for 33 HRs last season and over the full season last year--between AAA and the MLB--Jones did in fact hit 33 HRs in 590 ABs).

    About Milledge, I guess I disagree maybe out of shear hope. If Milledge is going to be our every day starting corner outfielder he better continue to improve and in the end should be able to hit 20 HRs. The corner infield and corner outfield spots are where you traditionally get your power and so Milledge, in the end, will need to be one of those power bats, I think.
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    Default Re: Russell pushes to 'break streak'

    Quote Originally Posted by The Sodfather View Post
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    That's one impressive list of "ifs".
    In an attempt to show how daunting the task is...
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    Default Re: Russell pushes to 'break streak'

    Quote Originally Posted by indybucfan View Post
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    I for one, don't expect this whole group to stay together. If Doumit stays healthy, I suspect he'll be traded by the deadline. Same goes for Duke or Maholm or both. So while I don't hold any expectations either, if they don't win, there will be moves. Guys like Alvarez, Tabata, and Lincoln will certainly make their debuts this year [HIGH-LIGHT]and depending on how they fare, we could see D'Arnaud, Sanchez, and maybe Alderson.[/HIGH-LIGHT]
    Wow. I dont think that any of those three are even going to come close to showing up in the MLB this season. I think that even if they have absolutely awesome years, better than or best that can be expected from them, they will at best be at the point where Alvarez, Lincoln, and Tabata are this season.
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    Default Re: Russell pushes to 'break streak'

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    Wow. I dont think that any of those three are even going to come close to showing up in the MLB this season. I think that even if they have absolutely awesome years, better than or best that can be expected from them, they will at best be at the point where Alvarez, Lincoln, and Tabata are this season.
    I would think itís possible you could see Alderson in September if he pitched lights out for Altoona and then Indy. I would not bet on that scenario though. The other 2 guys Öno way.

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    Default Re: Russell pushes to 'break streak'

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBen2112 View Post
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    Wow. I dont think that any of those three are even going to come close to showing up in the MLB this season. I think that even if they have absolutely awesome years, better than or best that can be expected from them, they will at best be at the point where Alvarez, Lincoln, and Tabata are this season.
    Isn't D'Arnaud starting in AA this year? Not completely out of the realm, 2011 is more likely. I think if they solve Alderson's missing velocity he could, again not likely, make it up for a cup of coffee. Again, 2011 is more likely. I think everything with Sanchez is dependent on what happens in front of him. There is no one between him and Doumit to stand in his way. He very well could jump all the way to AAA, depends on how his bat progresses. He's already good on defense, which is usually what holds a catcher back.

    I don't expect any of the three to arrive, but who knows. I've seen lesser players make the jump.

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    Default Re: Russell pushes to 'break streak'

    Quote Originally Posted by indybucfan View Post
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    Isn't D'Arnaud starting in AA this year? Not completely out of the realm, 2011 is more likely. I think if they solve Alderson's missing velocity he could, again not likely, make it up for a cup of coffee. Again, 2011 is more likely. [HIGH-LIGHT]I think everything with Sanchez is dependent on what happens in front of him. There is no one between him and Doumit to stand in his way.[/HIGH-LIGHT] He very well could jump all the way to AAA, depends on how his bat progresses. He's already good on defense, which is usually what holds a catcher back.

    I don't expect any of the three to arrive, but who knows. I've seen lesser players make the jump.
    You would see Kratz or Carlin before Sanchez this year.

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