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Hurdle gives hitters cold-weather advice

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CHICAGO -- By the time Edwin Jackson delivered his first pitch to Starling Marte, the Tuesday night temperature in Wrigley Field was in the 40s -- not accounting for the wind-chill factor from the breezes always rippling the flags atop the center-field scoreboard.

Advantage, pitchers. Jackson, as well as the Bucs' Charlie Morton.

Manager Clint Hurdle, who in a previous life buttered his bread from the batter's box, gave them that.

"Most pitchers developed in the United States prefer to pitch in cold weather," Hurdle said. "I do think they think they have an advantage, and there's probably something to that."

As a Florida-reared prospect who began his professional career in such places as Waterloo, Iowa, and Omaha, Neb., Hurdle had to be a quick learner when it came to dealing with cold conditions. He imparted some of that wisdom to his Pirates prior to Tuesday night's game.

"Get the barrel on the first ball you swing at, and the day will play out much better," Hurdle said. "Look for a fastball, and hit it hard where it's pitched. Otherwise, it can be challenging.

"It's a frame of mind," continued Hurdle, drawing on his own experiences. "I'd have to trick myself [into thinking it was warmer]. I needed to go up there, get ready, get some kind of adrenaline warmth going ... and I needed to hit that first ball hard. Because if I got blown up that first at-bat, [hit one off the handle], there seemed to be some collateral damage that played out the rest of the game."

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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