MILWAUKEE — Neal Huntington doesn’t mess around.
Last season, the battery of Tom Gorzelanny and catcher Ronny Paulino produced 14 victories for the Pirates. They were touted as building blocks for the future of the franchise. Today, both players find themselves back in the minors.
Need any more proof the new front office team wasn’t kidding last offseason when it talked about accountability?
The mood in the clubhouse this afternoon, just minutes after Gorzelanny packed his gear and left Miller Park, was quiet — a little edgy, a little angry. Make no mistake, Huntington’s message had been received loud and clear.
Gorzelanny clearly was angry with himself during his wipeout Friday against the Brewers. In the fifth inning, he walked four batters, threw a wild pitch and gave up four hits. He looked like a guy whose confidence is shot.
It’ll probably be a few weeks — months? — before Gorzelanny gets himself straightened out at Indianapolis. In the meantime …
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you John Van Benschoten.
I know, I know. You’ve seen this act before, and it wasn’t much fun. JVB will lug a career record of 2-12 with a 9.04 ERA onto the mound at PNC Park when he starts Wednesday against Houston.
The fact the Pirates were willing to put Van Benschoten back into the rotation shows 1. just how far off track Gorzelanny has fallen and 2. the lack of bona fide pitching prospects in the Pirates’ farm system.
“John Van Benschoten’s career track record has not been good,” Huntington said. “His last start certainly wasn’t something that gave you comfort and confidence. But he has the ability to be aggressive, attack the bottom of the strike zone. He has major league stuff; he just needs to apply it.”
If he doesn’t do it — and soon — JVB will be cast aside, just like former No. 1 Bryan Bullington was Thursday.
Gee, the legacy of ex-GM Dave Littlefield continues to crumble, doesn’t it?
Huntington and manager John Russell both said they’d like to see Ty Taubenheim get another shot. And Yoslan Herrera, who already has a major league contract and a spot on the 40-man roster, is turning it on at Double-A Altoona. In any event, I would not be surprised if Herrera is with the Pirates by September.