PHOENIX -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle spends a considerable portion of his daily media briefings giving updates on the club's rehabilitating pitchers (Charlie Morton, Francisco Liriano, Jeff Karstens, Jose Contreras). The most upbeat news coming out of the Pirates' farm system involves the progress of pitching prospects. And, of course, the gang on the big league staff has been borderline lights-out.
Meanwhile, the Bucs' offense struggles. Half the lineup needs a GPS to even find the Interstate -- euphemism for a batting average that begins with a "1."
If this dichotomy continues, would general manager Neal Huntington consider dealing some of the plentiful arms for bats?
Huntington does not sound interested in that option.
"The reality is you can not have enough pitching. It's the most valued commodity," he told MLB.com.
And there is the unreal component of why the strategy does not appeal to the GM: The unreal way the Bucs have hit through seven games, with totals of 13 runs and 26 hits.
"We've got guys with track records for hitting. For seven games, they have not," said Huntington, as aware as anyone that last season got off to a similar quiet start before a June breakout. "The goal is to make that transition to production much quicker than a year ago. We're not going to go through the season with eight guys swinging the way they are.
"And this feels a lot different than it did last year. A year ago, we had a lot of first- or second-pitch outs, a lot of swinging and missing, very few three-ball counts. While the results are not there, we are making pitchers work hard. We're forcing mistakes, but missing them."