Pittsburgh Pirates banquet quotes at a glance

March 26, 2014 

Staff Photographer

Pittsburgh Pirates President Frank Coonelly, standing at left, thanks fans and booster members during an appreciation dinner banquet on Tuesday at the Bradenton Area Convention Center. Seated from right are Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and general manager Neal Huntington. PAUL VIDELA/Bradenton Herald

PAUL VIDELA — pvidela@bradenton.com

Pittsburgh Pirates banquet quotes at a glance

Manager Clint Hurdle: "My most memorable moment of last year was the wild card game against Cincinnati. I've played, coached or managed in three World Series but I never felt anything like that. I usually go into the dugout for about 30 minutes before the game to chill and unwind. But I couldn't do it. Our fans' energy was spilling over me. Our stadium showed up and showed off in that game."

-- "The player I look forward to the most for growth is Gerrit Cole. I see him pitching beginning to end this year. He was amazing last year. He got win No. 82 against Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers and it was 1-0."

-- "Andrew McCutchen can get better. He won the MVP last year. I think he's better than a .315 hitter. He didn't win win a Gold Glove last year and he's mad about that. He's stolen a lot of bases but he wants to steal more. This is my 40th spring training and this year I am just awed watching Andrew hit. He is hitting hard, soft and up and down. When your best player is also your hardest worker it challenges everyone."

-- "I'm gonna open the season with a sort of platoon situation in right field and first base, but not a strict lefty right platoon. I will use Travis Snider and Jose Tabata in right field and Gaby Sanchez and Travis Ishikawa at first base."

GM Neal Huntington: "We're pleased with 94 wins but we had a bad taste in our mouths after we left St. Louis (where the Pirates lost in five games to the Cardinals in the Division Series). We want our first championship at PNC Park this year."

-- "The hardest decision on a send-down to the minors this spring might be one of our top prospects, Gregory Polanco . He can do a lot of things. He can hit, throw, run. I think pitchers realized what he could do to a fast ball. But he needs to see a lot of 2-0 sliders and see what he can do with them. I think Greg needs to see AA and AAA pitching. He will be up when he is ready. We want our players to thrive, not survive."

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