Nutting: “Expectations are higher”


BRADENTON, Fla. — Owner Bob Nutting met with the team for about a half-hour this morning in the cafeteria at Pirate City, then spoke with reporters. Some highlights:

»»» Nutting said the mood in camp as well as expectations for the season are different this year. “We’re talking about very high expectation levels for this season,” Nutting said. “I talked a little bit about the tremendous achievement the first part of (last) year, but also how we need and expect to finish this year, play all the way through. We’re here to win a National League Central championship. That’s the goal that we’re absolutely committed to getting done this year. They needed to hear that from me.”

»»» Nutting did not respond directly when asked if president Frank Coonelly, who faces charges stemming from a drunk-driving incident, will be subject to any internal discipline. “As a father with three daughters who are driving, I was very concerned, very disappointed and thankful that nobody was hurt.” Nutting went on to call Coonelly’s actions “unacceptable in every way.” The bottom line from Nutting: “We’re going to try to move forward from this point, but in no way minimizing my disappointment or his disappointment in the actions.”

»»» Nutting said the Pirates “no question could have done the A.J. Burnett trade for significantly fewer dollars.” The Pirates sent two low-level prospects to the Yankees and will take on $13 million of the $33 million Burnett is owed over the next two seasons. “We are all committed that we are not going to sacrifice our future or high-end prospects. If we need to stretch farther in dollars, it’s more appropriate and better for the long-term future of the club. I’m very comfortable with that choice.”

»»» The Pirates have added two games to their spring training schedule. They’re scheduled to play a B game March 10 against the Twins at Pirate City. The also will play the Netherlands at 1:05 p.m. March 12 in the St. Petersburg International Tournament at Al Lang Stadium.