Pirates notebook: Huntington keeps eye on waiver wire
CINCINNATI — With the non-waiver trade deadline in the past, general managers have moved on to watching the waiver wire, a process the Pirates’ Neal Huntington called interesting.
“You’re looking to add to your team and prevent teams behind you from adding to theirs,” he said Sunday. “It’s an intellectual exercise of cat-and-mouse, but you have to be prepared to take the players that you claim.”
Huntington said if the Pirates can find an upgrade or prevent someone behind them from getting better, they’ll make a claim.
“We have,” he said, “and we’ll continue to do so.”
• The three-game attendance for the series at Great American Ball Park was 121,030, and Pirates manager Clint Hurdle spoke several times about the experience of playing in such a charged environment. Outfielder Andrew McCutchen mentioned the atmosphere after Sunday’s win. “I’ve never been in a playoff game, but I’m sure it kind of feels like that,” he said. “Two teams at the top playing against each other.” Right-hander A.J. Burnett wasn’t as affected. “I’ve been in October, and it’s nothing like October,” he said. “But it’s a good rivalry. We’re not finished with them.”
• Despite tension Friday and Saturday, Sunday’s finale was quiet. The Pirates didn’t hit any Reds batters with pitches, and catcher Rod Barajas said they never intended to. “You can’t get consumed by it, where we have to protect our guys, we have to do this. Bottom line, we have to win the game,” he said. “You have to realize what’s most important. Is it (to) feel good about yourself or go out there and win the game? For us, it was a no-doubter.” Huntington also addressed the lack of retribution. “There is a right way and a right time to handle situations, and our guys are working through that,” he said. “It may not be as blatant as everybody wants it to be. The competitor in you wants immediate payback, but the reality is there’s not a good spot for it in the game.”
• Umpire Brian Gorman, manning third base Sunday, got another visit from Hurdle when he called out Starling Marte in the eighth inning. Replays showed third baseman Todd Frazier‘s swipe tag didn’t connect. “(Gorman) told me he got it right,” Hurdle said. “And I said, ‘Boy, I sure hope so,’ because it just didn’t look right.”
• Marte snapped a 1-for-17 skid with his fourth-inning triple that put the Pirates ahead to stay.
— Karen Price