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Neal Huntington On Josh Bell, Use Of The Opener

Pirates GM joins Greg Brown Sunday for their weekly chat on 93.7 The Fan and the Pirates Radio Network

May 19, 2019 - 4:44 pm

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) - The Pittsburgh Pirates are 6-4 in their last ten games and 23-20 overall which has them 3 games back of first in the division and a half game back of a wild card spot.

A big reason why the Pirates are where they are is the production they have gotten from Josh Bell.  Bell has a batting average of .333 with 14 doubles, 2 triples, 14 home runs and 43 RBI in 43 games.

"He's (Bell) in one of those stretches where over a 30 day or 45 day stretch he's been one of the best offensive players in baseball," said Pirates GM Neal Huntington. "We've had Andrew McCutchen do that at various times, I just know it's a lot of fun to watch him. The league is going to make adjustments on him, but what's fun is he's hitting fastball's, he's hitting changeups, he's hitting breaking pitches and you are seeing fewer of the off-balance swings."

The Pirates also continue to battle injuries as Trevor Williams was placed on the 10-day IL.

"Trevor (was) injured on a swing earlier in the game and was trying to work through it and it just got to a point in time where the discomfort was such that he couldn't work through it," said Huntington. "We well reaccess in 10 days and how he's healing, feeling and whether he's ready to start strengthening and ready to start baseball activities again."

Could this mean that the Pirates will use the opener again on Wednesday at PNC Park against the Rockies?

"It could and part of the process is that we focus on winning today's game today," said Huntington. "When we go out to win Tuesday's game, we don't want to hold the potential opener out of Tuesday's game at the risk of losing Tuesday's game. So, we will manage a handful of starts here looking forward and until we can get Trevor back we are going to need to be creative and we may have some TBD's in there."

 Did you consider calling up Mitch Keller with all these injuries to solidify the rotation?

"We did, we've talked a lot about it and as we talked three or four weeks ago Mitch is in the process of solidifying the addition of a slider/cutter," said Huntington. "We're still keeping our eyes and ears on Mitch and listening to our special assistants as they go through town, Larry Broadway and Kyle Stark, our pro scouts and as importantly our Triple-A staff. Our conversations have continued to be getting close, but we would really like to solidify this change before we try to have him go attack major league hitters."

Neal and Greg also get more in depth on the starting rotation, the pitching depth, what the outfield rotation will be like as Chisenhall and Dickerson hopefully get healthy and ready to come back soon and a great story involving minor leaguer Trayvon Robinson.

Listen to the entire Neal Huntington Show below and the Neal Huntington Show is on the air an hour before first pitch every Sunday on 93.7 The Fan and the Pirates Radio Network.

Listen to the entire Neal Huntington Show below: