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Thread: Pirates Feeling Confident in Clint Hurdle's Leadership

      
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    Default Pirates Feeling Confident in Clint Hurdle's Leadership

    Bucs feeling good with Hurdle leading the way

    New skipper's impact already being felt heading into camp

    By Jenifer Langosch / MLB.com | 02/06/11 10:00 PM EST


    PITTSBURGH -- On the heels of one of the worst years in franchise history, the Pirates aren't about to begin Spring Training with subdued expectations. New manager Clint Hurdle won't allow it.

    Yes, external skepticism still abounds. But there is excitement bubbling internally. Hurdle's arrival has ushered in a renewed sense of accountability. Players have already gravitated to his presence and his message of outworking and out-preparing everyone else.

    Hurdle's task of restoring a sense of pride in this franchise won't be an easy one. But there is a belief that the pieces might finally be in place to begin a move in that direction.



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    "We've talked a lot about where we've been," general manager Neal Huntington said. "I feel stronger about our plan. I feel stronger about our vision. I feel stronger about our execution than I've ever felt. I stand in front of you more excited about our season than I have ever in the three other times I've stood here. We're beginning to now talk about the Major League team."

    On the offensive side of things, the Pirates' lineup appears improved from where it was a year before. Pedro Alvarez, Neil Walker and Jose Tabata have successful rookie seasons under their belts. Lyle Overbay has the ability to change a game with one swing, and Matt Diaz should be a strong complement to Garrett Jones in right.
    There are still questions about the team's pitching, though the club maintains that it has better options and more depth than it did a year ago. The organization is encouraged, too, by some of the young pitchers who are inching closer to making a big league impact.

    It's for all these reasons that the Pirates will open camp optimistically. There have been no playoff promises or vows of a historical turnaround. But there has been an insistence that improvement will be tangible this season, and that the franchise is on its way back to being a point of pride for the city of Pittsburgh.

    "I just feel like I'm lucky to be getting on the bus right now," Hurdle said. "I'm looking forward to being a part of something significant and special here."



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    Triple play: Three questions that need answers

    1. Who will win the final rotation spot?
    It appears as if the Pirates already have four of their five rotation spots filled, with those expected to be taken by Kevin Correia, James McDonald, Paul Maholm and Ross Ohlendorf. The fifth spot, though, remains up for grabs. Charlie Morton and Scott Olsen will get the most consideration, and there are plenty of variables that will be taken into consideration.

    Olsen signed a guaranteed Major League contract -- albeit one with a low base salary of $450,000 -- so he's not necessarily someone the Pirates envision pitching in the Minors. Proving that he is indeed healthy enough for a rebound season will be key for Olsen this spring. With Morton, the Pirates need to see that the right-hander has put a dismal 2010 season out of his memory. Pitching with confidence is particularly critical for Morton, who is also out of options this year.

    The dark horse in this rotation competition is Brad Lincoln, whom the Pirates still feel might benefit from a bit more time in the Minors.

    [READ MORE ...]

    Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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    Default Re: Pirates Feeling Confident in Clint Hurdle's Leadership

    "We've talked a lot about where we've been," general manager Neal Huntington said. "I feel stronger about our plan. I feel stronger about our vision. I feel stronger about our execution than I've ever felt. I stand in front of you more excited about our season than I have ever in the three other times I've stood here. We're beginning to now talk about the Major League team."

    Neal has a lot of balls for saying that. Smizik will likely tear into him too....

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    Default Re: Pirates Feeling Confident in Clint Hurdle's Leadership

    Quote Originally Posted by buccoman View Post
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    "We've talked a lot about where we've been," general manager Neal Huntington said. "I feel stronger about our plan. I feel stronger about our vision. I feel stronger about our execution than I've ever felt. I stand in front of you more excited about our season than I have ever in the three other times I've stood here. We're beginning to now talk about the Major League team."

    Neal has a lot of balls for saying that. Smizik will likely tear into him too....
    Smizik would've *****ed if Huntington said nothing but "I have a couple of pets"

    I think that NH should fee,l more excited, stronger and whatever about the MLB team. It took him about 2.5 years to build up a core of young players to build a future with. That's what has needed to be done. All of the work isn't done. We have Big holes at the top of the rotation and question marks in the rotation and right hand side of the corner positions but, we have some pitchers at the top of the minors right now that are getting closer to being helpful. We have a #1 pick in Tony Sanchez about 1-2 years away.

    It is exciting for no other reason that at this time last season we didn't have Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata and Neil Walker on the roster.

    the "hope" is that this is the true beginning. Last year was the rock bottom that teams in massive rebuilds go through and this season is the start of that upward trend that we hopefully continue for years to come
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    Default Re: Pirates Feeling Confident in Clint Hurdle's Leadership

    Quote Originally Posted by Kipper View Post
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    Smizik would've *****ed if Huntington said nothing but "I have a couple of pets"

    I think that NH should fee,l more excited, stronger and whatever about the MLB team. It took him about 2.5 years to build up a core of young players to build a future with. That's what has needed to be done. All of the work isn't done. We have Big holes at the top of the rotation and question marks in the rotation and right hand side of the corner positions but, we have some pitchers at the top of the minors right now that are getting closer to being helpful. We have a #1 pick in Tony Sanchez about 1-2 years away.

    It is exciting for no other reason that at this time last season we didn't have Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata and Neil Walker on the roster.

    the "hope" is that this is the true beginning. Last year was the rock bottom that teams in massive rebuilds go through and this season is the start of that upward trend that we hopefully continue for years to come
    And soon to be Anthony Rendon. Another year of drafting in the #1 position should still get us some decent quality youngsters in the system.

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    Default Re: Pirates Feeling Confident in Clint Hurdle's Leadership

    Quote Originally Posted by exNCite View Post
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    And soon to be Anthony Rendon. Another year of drafting in the #1 position should still get us some decent quality youngsters in the system.
    As long as we make the right pick. We are all still scarred from the terrible picks that were made for the sake of money. It seems now there is a plan....and the money will be spent....wisely.

    I'm excited about the direction. I'm finally an optimist after being pessimistic for 5, 10, 15+ years!

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    Default Re: Pirates Feeling Confident in Clint Hurdle's Leadership

    Hopefully this will be the last high pick for a long time. Rendon will make another sweet addition to the system and can't wait to hear his name called.
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    Default Re: Pirates Feeling Confident in Clint Hurdle's Leadership

    Drafting Rendon will instantly put the Pirates into the top 10 as far as minor league systems go. If any of the pitchers from state college last year develope the system can become top 5.
    Smizik is an idiot.

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    Default Re: Pirates Feeling Confident in Clint Hurdle's Leadership

    Hurdle is a good schmoozer and a great PR guy. Still not sold on his managing skills, though.

    He lost 7 out of 8 years in Colorado and but for one super hot September would've gotten fired.

    =============

    I am hoping Rendon has a GREAT year and that his ankle proves to be NO problem. We need an impact bat like his. And, we need our pitching to come through. And, we need.........


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    Default Re: Pirates Feeling Confident in Clint Hurdle's Leadership

    Rendon is gonna have a helluva year, and be a Bucco at the end of it. After 18 years of misery the ball starts bouncing the Pirates way THIS season. Don't miss it.
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    Default Re: Pirates Feeling Confident in Clint Hurdle's Leadership

    Quote Originally Posted by Steelreign View Post
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    Rendon is gonna have a helluva year, and be a Bucco at the end of it. After 18 years of misery the ball starts bouncing the Pirates way THIS season. Don't miss it.
    I'm excited for the Bucs to finally start turning this thing around. I've been a fan since the 60's... been through alot of ups and downs over the years. I think the new regime is doing what they had to do to fix what Littledick and his band of cronies screwed up. I would like to see them get Rendon , if he is healthy. They certainly need some righthanded power. The only concern I have in this is Alveraz moving across the diamond to firstbase. It seems to be a foregone conclusion that it's going to happen. Pedro's defensive liabilities are noticeable at third.. do we really need that crappy glove at first? I just don't know if I like that scenario.It will be great to have both of those impact bats in the lineup... I just hope that Pedro doesn't embarrass himself at first.
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    Default Re: Pirates Feeling Confident in Clint Hurdle's Leadership

    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzman77 View Post
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    I'm excited for the Bucs to finally start turning this thing around. I've been a fan since the 60's... been through alot of ups and downs over the years. I think the new regime is doing what they had to do to fix what Littledick and his band of cronies screwed up. I would like to see them get Rendon , if he is healthy. They certainly need some righthanded power. The only concern I have in this is Alveraz moving across the diamond to firstbase. It seems to be a foregone conclusion that it's going to happen. Pedro's defensive liabilities are noticeable at third.. do we really need that crappy glove at first? I just don't know if I like that scenario.It will be great to have both of those impact bats in the lineup... I just hope that Pedro doesn't embarrass himself at first.
    One reason I see the value of Lyle Overbay. Who's better to help mentor Pedro at first? Garrett Jones? Don't think so.

    POLITICIANS AND DIAPERS SHOULD BE CHANGED OFTEN AND FOR THE SAME REASON!

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