PITTSBURGH -- There's unlikely to be any budging by manager Clint Hurdle when it comes to how often he uses his relievers. He made that much clear on Friday.
Hurdle said he has a hard policy of not allowing a reliever to appear in more than three consecutive games. He developed the firm stance on the issue after numerous studies he did as a hitting coach. Hurdle looked into how pitchers fare in years after they pitched more than three days in a row and found consistent increases in injuries and ineffectiveness.
That was enough proof for Hurdle to set a hard line.
"It just doesn't make any sense," Hurdle said. "[There is] too much to lose. The risk versus the reward isn't good enough for me. You want to be tied to their arms as much as you can, not just to the results."
Hurdle said he has broken the rule a few times, though such circumstances are rare. He has done it late in the season with a team making a playoff push, and he's considered it with a closer who had a low pitch count in three straight appearances.
If the Pirates were to find themselves in such a scenario with closer Joel Hanrahan, Hurdle would call on Evan Meek or, if Meek wasn't available, Jose Veras in a save situation.