PITTSBURGH -- Both as a player and as a manager, Clint Hurdle has participated in or witnessed some of the unique slump-busting activities for which Major League teams are known. Hurdle admitted "some of that is going on right now" with the Pirates, without suggesting "clothing-optional batting practice" is part of their routine. Clothing-optional batting practice? "I've had some group of guys carry it as far as sleeping in the clubhouse in the opposition city, taking batting practice late at night ... somewhat attired," Hurdle said. "I've also been on teams that used the same bat throughout the lineup, trying it Little League-style."
Other known slump-busting team-wide tactics include burning bats or caps in a bonfire, or passing around apparel considered lucky. Whatever the Pirates are doing, they hope it improves their rank as the Majors' lowest-scoring (78 runs) team entering play Tuesday. That's 17 runs less than Minnesota, the lowest-scoring team in the American League, and 85 runs less than Atlanta, which led the Majors with 163 runs entering play on Tuesday.