CLEVELAND - It may be a bit premature to call the Pirates either buyers or sellers or both, but while they remain in the Central Division race, it's not too early for them to weigh their options.
The dialog continued between Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and general manager Neal Huntington before a game against the Cleveland Indians on Saturday night.
"Short term, long term definitely, we have those conversations," Hurdle said. "We try to think about the creative side, the patient side, the challenging side, the roster side all those things come into play. But, yeah, we've had that conversation."
Mere talk about the addition of an established player is a departure from recent years, when the organization sought to move veterans in return for minor league prospects.
"Maybe it's another thing on our to-do list this year," Hurdle said. "Everything that we've talked about internally from [team owner] Bob [Nutting] to [vice president] Frank [Coonelly] to Neal has been first-time stuff for them as well. It has all been very creative, and it has been positive as well. Nobody has thrown roadblocks at anything that we've talked about so far."
At the start of the day, the Pirates were three games out of the Central Division lead. The last time they were within three games of the top spot this late in the season was Sept. 9, 1997, when they trailed by 2 games with a 70-74 record.
But Hurdle wasn't about to lose sight of the big picture.
"I did have some comments made by some of the other people that the players were a little more engaging in the dugout," he said. "They talked about scoreboard-watching in June, which might be fresh and new for some of them. Which is cool. Which is part of the growing process as we continue to try to push this forward. But for me, its way too early in the fight to put too much stock in it.
"I try to operate on the premise that I'm easy to please and hard to satisfy. So am I pleased where we are right now? Yes. I'm not satisfied because we've got too many games to play, as does everybody else."
Rookie pitcher Daniel Moskos hadn't seen the city of Cleveland, let alone many of the Indians players before the series, but he offered no excuses for the three consecutive hits he allowed in the eighth inning the previous night.
Of the three players who batted against him, Moskos was familiar only with outfielder Michael Brantley, whom he faced once in the minor leagues last season.
"It does make it more of a challenge, but we have scouting meetings before each series, we know who we'll face and their strengths and weaknesses," he said. "For me, it's about executing pitches, not making excuses. If I make pitches, I'll probably get outs. If I don't, what happened last night will happen. I made two mistakes and got hurt on both of them."
Designated hitter Travis Hafner drilled the final one high off the wall in right field for a two-base hit.
"Hafner is a very good hitter, an accomplished hitter," Moskos said. "But it's my job to get guys like that out. I'll try to learn from my mistakes and be better the next time."
Beimel moves forward
Pitcher Joe Beimel (inflamed left elbow) reported increased arm strength after he threw at distances between 60 and 90 feet before the game.
He will attempt to pitch on a mound again on Monday afternoon.
Third baseman Pedro Alvarez (strained right quadriceps) has resumed physical activities in his recovery program at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla., but he has yet to take part in game activities.
Two for the show
Recent draft pick Jonathan Schwind agreed to contact terms. The catcher was selected in the 41st round.
Undrafted pitcher Robert Kilcrease also signed a contract. He is a Texas Tech University product.