As he does every Sunday home game, Neal Huntington met with assembled media and handled nearly 16 minutes of topics. Injuries, prospects and some major league talk were all on the table in this session.
Andrew Lambo continues to struggle with his plantar fasciitis and has not seen a return to game action. Lambo has continued to experience discomfort. The Pirates are taking things slow with him
“He’s disappointed, he wants nothing more than to be back here helping this club, but his foot is just not allowing it right now,” Huntington said.
Meanwhile in the minor leagues, Tyler Glasnow has not yet returned to action after his ankle injury. He was shut down and is currently working through his throwing program. Glasnow, the 12th best prospect according to MLB.com prior to season’s start is currently going through a bullpen progression.
Speaking of progression Jameson Taillon continues his return from Tommy John surgery. Taillon threw four innings and 61 pitches yesterday in an extended Spring Training outing. All signs were positive.
Similar to the last meeting with the media, Huntington discussed prospects blocking each other. Keon Broxton is a currently a victim of that. Broxton is batting .302 with three home runs and 26 RBI in Double-A Altoona and Huntington said he was “absolutely ready to go to the next level”. The wrench in that however is the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians are a potential playoff team and Huntington cited the depth options which block him from getting to that next plateau.
Back to the major league ball club, where Corey Hart’s playing time was once again a topic, this time for Huntington to answer. Hart reached base Sunday for the first time since May 24 and it was his first time in the starting lineup since May 16 against the Chicago Cubs. He is hitting 1-for-21 with nine strikeouts as a starter.
“The challenge of a deep and versatile club is there are options for the manager, and Jose Tabata has come up and done a really nice job,” said Huntington. “Corey is a regular that is trying to reestablish himself as a role player. There are some challenges that come with that and you add in the health issues. Certainly we were thinking we would get more, but at the same time I can completely understand why it’s been a challenge for Corey.”
Gerrit Cole also was a discussion point in the media session. Cole leads all major league pitchers with 10 wins and his 1.71 ERA leads the National League. The question raised was how close he was a finished product.
“My hope is he’s never a finished product in his mind, and that he’s never a finished product in our minds,” Huntington said. “I don’t think he will be. I think that’s why the adjustments have come so quickly, his drive to be elite is special. He’s got a tremendous package of attributes that he gets the most out of on a daily basis. That’s why it’s come quickly, and that’s probably what separates him.”
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