Hurdle wastes no time putting McKenry to use

Hurdle wastes no time putting McKenry to use

PITTSBURGH -- Twenty-four hours after making a Sunday-evening run to the grocery store, Michael McKenry was behind the plate, catching starter Paul Maholm in the final game of the Pirates' 10-game homestand.

That trip to the supermarket was cut short by a call from McKenry's manager at Triple-A Pawtucket, who let the 26-year-old know he had been dealt to the Pirates. The Red Sox will receive either cash or a player from the Pirates, who have been actively scouring the market for catchers since losing Ryan Doumit and Chris Snyder to injuries.

"I'm real excited to be here and feel real fortunate," McKenry said. "It's my 'little kid' dream to play big league baseball. I kind of threw all my stuff down and said, 'Let's go. I'm ready.' I wanted to get here as soon as possible and try to get in the lineup and play."

Manager Clint Hurdle wasted no time getting McKenry involved. Monday marks just the second Major League start for McKenry, who went hitless in eight at-bats with the Rockies as a September callup in 2010. Hurdle felt comfortable having McKenry break in as Maholm's batterymate given Maholm's experience and ability to call his own pitches.

McKenry made the most of his chance, catching Daniel Murphy cheating toward third base and starting a rundown.

"[Murphy] started leaning and put all his weight on one side, and I just chucked it down there," said McKenry, who also worked seamlessly with his batterymate.

"[McKenry] was great," Maholm said. "You see who is catching you, and you've never met the guy. You go introduce yourself, go over a game plan, and go out there and execute it. He was spot-on. I didn't have to shake him a whole lot."

"It's tough [learning new pitchers], but I think I'm getting pretty good at it, moving around so much," said McKenry, who was traded from Colorado to Boston on March 29. "I like the challenge, and I'm just going to spend a lot of time with these guys the next couple of days to try to learn who they are, what they like, even what they like to eat. Hopefully, [I'll] become their best friend."

The Pirates haven't made it clear how playing time will be split between McKenry and Dusty Brown. It's also uncertain how long those two will be the Pirates' catching tandem. With Jason Jaramillo on the mend in Triple-A, Hurdle confirmed that the organization is still looking to improve its catching depth. That likely means the Pirates will continue to put out feelers for backstops already at the Major League level.