PITTSBURGH -- It's no secret that Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has been to the World Series. He led the Rockies there in 2007, and on Thursday the skipper made comparisons between that team and the 2012 Pirates. "We had a group of men that had kind of played ball coming up together," Hurdle said. "They had experience winning together through the Minor Leagues, and then they experienced getting beat up in the big leagues. "As we added a couple players -- we still had a young rotation -- you kind of saw them just grow up right in front of your eyes. I haven't been here that long, but it's kind of similar to here. I've watched some guys kind of grow up in the last year and a half."
Hurdle has talked that way about All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen, the NL Player of the Month in June, who's hitting a Major League-leading .360 to go along with 16 home runs and 54 RBIs. It's also likely that Hurdle, now in his second year as the Pirates' manager, feels that way about homegrown players Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker. "It's kind of like the first time you throw your keys to your kid and say, 'Let's go for a ride,'" Hurdle said. "Do you buckle in, put on a helmet and close your eyes and cross yourself, or do you just throw them the keys and just say, 'Hey, take me for a ride'?"