Backstop McKenry working well with pitchers

Backstop McKenry working well with pitchers

PITTSBURGH -- Mike McKenry didn't have a lot of time to build chemistry with the Pirates pitchers after he was acquired from Boston on June 12. The catcher, who'd had six games of Major League experience, started for the Bucs on June 13.

To begin working with the new pitching staff, McKenry did what he'd done each time he had to make a move, including fall leagues, winter leagues and a brief stint on Boston's Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox.

"I just kept my mouth shut and my ears open," McKenry said. "I walked up to every guy and just tried to figure out what they wanted to do."

He has now started 17 games for the Pirates, and the team has gone 13-4 with McKenry behind the plate. Pirates pitchers have had an ERA of 3.23 in games he's started.

"He's been tremendous," starter Jeff Karstens said. "He calls a great game. He has an idea of what he wants to do."

McKenry played six games for the Rockies in 2010 and spent Spring Training with Colorado before being traded to Boston and playing in Pawtucket. He played 29 games with the PawSox before his trade to Pittsburgh.

"That's a lot," manager Clint Hurdle said of McKenry's moves. "The transition here was seamless. We've had one wild pitch since he's been behind the plate. No passed balls since he's been behind the plate. And the numbers weren't that way at the start of the month."