Postgame: Information breakdown


PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — You can ask manager Clint Hurdle about any one of the rash of minor and major injuries the Pirates are dealing with in spring training. Just don’t expect an answer.

“I don’t talk about injuries,” Hurdle said today after the 8-7 win against the Rays. “I’m not a doctor. Normally, information doesn’t get accurate until later on. Reasons being for misinformation, I usually say, ‘We’ll make a comment later.’ ”

Hurdle was in the dugout this afternoon when Andrew McCutchen said he was unable to play due to a sore left wrist. Hurdle was on the mound after James McDonald clutched his left side and clearly was unable to continue. But Hurdle claimed he doesn’t know how either player was injured.

“I’m not going to go there,” Hurdle said impatiently. “I don’t deal with those things. The training staff deals with those things. Sometimes, things are said, you know, what he feels, what he’ll feel later, what he’ll feel tomorrow. We’ll get a doctor to look at him appropriately and professionally and we’ll have more information for you.”

So, how badly is McCutchen hurt? Can’t say. If you’ve paid good money for a ticket to an upcoming game, hoping to see him play, will McCutchen be in the lineup? Can’t say. Will you get a refund if he doesn’t play? Don’t hold your breath.

The Pirates have reacted to queries about injuries by releasing emails containing only the barest and vaguest bits of information. This is the entire text of today’s message about lefty Scott Olsen, who’s been out all spring with a strained left hamstring: “LHP Scott Olsen completed his second live batting practice session this morning without issue. We will provide additional updates as appropriate.”

What’s an “appropriate” time for an update is up for debate.

About 11 o’clock Thursday night, the Pirates admitted Ryan Doumit is out with a strained oblique, something the team had known since Wednesday but kept secret. Even getting that bit of info was a battle — when I asked about Doumit in the late afternoon, I was told by a team official that he was “a healthy scratch” from the Friday lineup. After I blogged and Tweeted that report, my e-mail inbox and Twitter account was deluged with questions from fans about a possible trade (the Pirates have been shopping Doumit for a while). Only then, after another terse “no comment” from Hurdle, did the Pirates finally reveal Doumit’s injury.

Hurdle is correct to say that controlling the flow of information can cut down on misinformation. But, especially in this age of Instant Messages, Twitter and Facebook, that approach more often leads to rampant speculation and minor issues getting blown out of proportion.

»»» Brian Burres, a non-roster player, seems to be making a push for the No. 5 starter’s job. He’s tossed nine scoreless innings this spring and has allowed just five hits. Don’t forget, the lefty was effective down the stretch last September, too.

»»» John Bowker hit a pinch-homer, extending his hitting streak to five games. He’s 5 for 13 (.385) in seven games. … The Pirates racked up 15 hits today, their highest single-game total this spring … Daniel Moskos allowed four runs in two-thirds of an inning, snapping a string of four scoreless outings.