Hurdle lays down the law

Owner Bob Nutting talks with Andrew McCutchen before today's game.
Owner Bob Nutting talks with Andrew McCutchen before today's game.

BRADENTON, Fla. — Yesterday afternoon, manager Clint Hurdle held a closed-door meeting in the clubhouse before the team departed for the game against the Orioles in Sarasota. “We had a little conversation,” Hurdle explained today with a gleam in his eye.

In the first two games of the spring, both losses, the Pirates had a total of 12 hits and six runs. They made baserunning blunders and fielding errors. That had to change, and Hurdle made it clear during the meeting. “We’re at McKechnie (Field) now,” Hurdle said. “This is the second stage of spring training. Games are on. Competition. Play. Represent. All those things we’ve talked about. I think they hit the reset button. They’re playing cleaner baseball and doing better things.”

Message received. In winning the past two games, the Pirates have collected 34 hits and scored 17 runs. Over the past 21 innings, the pitchers have allowed only two earned runs.

»»» Yamaico Navarro, who’s trying to make the team as a backup infielder, hit a two-run double in the eighth in today’s 7-4 win against the Yankees. Navarro has five hits in his past six at-bats. Starling Marte went 2 for 2 and has gotten hits in his last five at-bats.

»»» After he signed a long-term contract extension this morning, Andrew McCutchen was congratulated by Yankees infielders Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter. “It was all around the bases,” McCutchen said. “They all said congrats. Even the umpires said congrats.” McCutchen paused and laughed. “But I didn’t get to A-Rod (Alex Rodriguez). I wasn’t on third today.” McCutchen singled, doubled and drove in two runs.

Tomorrow’s lineup v. Toronto

Pirates (2-2): 1. Jose Tabata rf, 2. Clint Barmes ss, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Casey McGehee 1b, 5. Neil Walker 2b, 6. Rod Barajas c, 7. Yamaico Navarro dh, 8. Nick Evans 3b, 9. Brandon Boggs lf. Jeff Karstens rhp