Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington talked McCuchen, Polanco injuries, Cervelli’s workload & more on his weekly radio show

Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington makes a weekly radio hit on the team’s flagship radio station 93.7 The Fan. Each Sunday, Pirates Breakdown will bring you a recapping of Huntington’s show, picking out the best tidbits from the show, hosted by Greg Brown. Let’s get started.

All quotes are direct from Neal Huntington as told to host Greg Brown.

On Pittsburgh Pirates OF Andrew McCutchen‘s status after tweaking his knee on Friday

Hearing that he’s still a little bit sore, but that he’s optimistic that everything is going to be ok; seems like everything is going to be a go; he did the right thing coming off the field when he did

Brown followup: What were your thoughts as a GM when you saw him leave the field?

Just like when Bryce Harper gave all of baseball a scare yesterday, You typically look for cause of injury, a mis-step, a side step…there didn’t seem to be anything in Andrew’s case that screamed significant. So then you start wondering about a meniscus tear, or something similar. Your mind can wander, for sure.

On Gregory Polanco‘s status after tweaking his hamstring on Saturday

Again, the positive is that we didn’t have to make a move immediately for today; we want to give it a day and see how he is tomorrow. If we thought it would be something like 7-10 days or a week or two, we would have immediately put him on the DL; we may be able to avoid a DL assignment, but we will see.

Brown followup: At some point you have to trust a player’s word, but in hindsight would an extra of couple of weeks on the DL for Polanco have helped him avoid this?

Not only are we taking a player’s word, but we are putting them through a gamut of tests…strengths, mobility, pliability, explosiveness…a series of tests he has to pass before we feel comfortable. now, the challenge is….can he re-aggravate it like he might have yesterday? Yes. Would an extra amount of time on the DL have helped that? Maybe. But maybe not. We’re not going to put them back out there before they’re ready, and before they pass our tests.

On the possibility of Josh Bell playing right field in spots

We are set on having Josh Bell stay at first. It would be unfair to ask him to jump around; we had to last year out of necessity, but now we need to give him every opportunity to continue to learn the first base position.

On Francisco Cervelli‘s increased playing time in the second half of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ season

He’s a driven man, and wants to run that staff and be behind home plate. Every single one of the 162 games this year are meaningful; we are going to lose a few games between now and the end of the season; the challenge is how do we win more than we are supposed to; the sense of urgency is out there and that’s why Cervelli is out there.

On potential innings limit for young hurlers Trevor Williams and Chad Kuhl

We will [monitor innings] with every pitcher, not just the young starters. It goes much beyond innings pitched. Innings pitched is a part of it, but there’s a whole other level that goes into our formula and throught process. We will continue to monitor these guys as we do with all of our pitchers as they pile up the workload. Ray does a tremendous job with our guys in terms of feel when they might need less…less in the bullpen, or an extra day here and there. We’ve got some depth if we want with Tyler Glasnow and Steven Brault pitching so well as well.

On Nick Kingham‘s road back from surgery and stellar performance at Triple-A

He’s taking that next step in return from TJ surgery; there’s the getting healthy part, building strength part, then once they get back pitching there is the confidence and feel part. A lot of times pitchers take time to get the feel back. In some cases it takes a little longer to get back; whether it be the confidence that you’re completely healthy; so in Nick’s case, he injured his ankle towards the end of spring training, that set him back, and he is just now getting back to the point — we feel like — that he’s a pitcher. He’s using his weapons again and it’s great to see Nick come on.

Jason Rollison

Jason Rollison has been analyzing baseball and the Pirates in one way or another for 4+ years. Jason's previous stops include rumbunter.com, Pittsburgh Sporting News, Call To The Pen and several print publications. He also covers the State College Spikes for the Centre County Gazette (State College, PA) When it comes to analyzing baseball, he likes to take a middle-of-the-road approach, with one foot on the analytics side of the fence and the other on the old-school side. Having said that, he is a sucker for pitchf/x. Jason has appeared as a phone-in and in-studio guests in numerous outlets, including Trib Live Radio and 93.7 The Fan (CBS Sports Radio)