Sunday Notebook: Lambo, Cole’s Development and Hart’s Role

Little Progress for Lambo

First baseman/outfielder Andrew Lambo was placed on the 15-day disabled list May 6 with plantar fasciitis in his left foot and has been in Bradenton since. There currently is no timetable for his return due to the nature of the injury.

General manager Neal Huntington said Sunday Lambo is dealing with “lingering pain” and “discomfort” in his foot.

“We’ve continued to work with him on that,” Huntington said. “The worst thing for him is to try to push through because it’s just going to linger all year.”

The 26-year-old played in 20 games for the Pirates before he was sent to the disabled list and hit just .040 in 27 plate appearances. Lambo’s activity has been limited because the injury continues to flare up and responds poorly to baseball work.

“He still feels it in daily life,” Huntington said. “He still feels it as we try to push through. We’re trying to keep the baseball activity going as best we can.”

Cole the Ace

The development of Gerrit Cole has been the most exciting aspect of watching the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015. He leads the major leagues with 10 wins and a 1.71 ERA and is on the short list of early Cy Young Award candidates.

Cole, the No. 1 overall pick in 2011, has become the starter the Pirates likely hoped he would be when they drafted him four years ago.

“My hope is that he is never a finished product in his mind,” Huntington said. “And he is never finished product in our mind, and I don’t think he will be.”

Meaning, the Pirates hope Cole can continue to get better and better. With Cole’s work ethic and competitive nature, there’s a good chance Huntington’s hopes come to fruition.

“He’s always going to work to be special,” Huntington said. “And there are still some things he can do and we can do to help him get better and that’s what makes him so enjoyable and so much fun to think about where he can go.”

There is a good deal of baseball left to play as the season is only one-third of the way over, time in which Jeff Locke played himself out of the major-league rotation after becoming an All-Star in 2013. But Cole’s a little better than Locke.

The 24-year-old’s 2.36 FIP ranks fourth in baseball, boasted by his 9.96 K/9 and 2.04 BB/9 ratios. Striking nearly five hitters for each walk he issues indicates Cole’s success isn’t any sort of fluke in that regard.

In his second full season in the majors, Cole has added knowledge of how to pitch at the big league level with his skills to become one of baseball’s best pitchers.

“He certainly has worked hard to maximize his physical abilities to go with it,” Huntington said. “He’s got the character to go with it, he’s got the drive. He’s got a tremendous package of attributes that he gets the most out of on a daily basis. That’s why it’s come quickly.”


Hart’s Involvement

First baseman/outfielder Corey Hart was brought into the organization over the offseason as a potential platoon partner with Pedro Alvarez at first base. Hart, transitioning from his days as an everyday player into a role player, owns an .857 OPS in his career against left-handers who cause so much trouble for Alvarez.

The signing didn’t hold a lot of risk, and seemed to make sense.

But Hart started Sunday for the first time since May 16 and struck out twice in two plate appearances. He’s batting .186 on the season and has struck out 17 times in 43 at-bats.

The Pirates haven’t faced much left-handed starting pitching this season, which provides the best opportunity to include Hart in the lineup. But Sean Rodriguez has received more playing time at first base than Hart, even drawing starts against left-handers.

“It’s been a challenge for Corey to get rolling,” Huntington said. “And certainly we were thinking we would get more, but at the same time we completely understand why it has been a challenge for Corey.”

Sunday’s game started a stretch in which the Pirates are slated to face left-handed pitchers in five of seven games. In turn, Hart should receive more opportunities to play.

One way or the other, decisions made with his playing time and his requisite performance will show all anyone needs to know regarding his status with the Pirates.

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Corey Hart is 1 – 23 as the starting 1B against lefties. He’s stunk for almost 5 years I hated this signing the second I seen it. I’m not ready to give up on Lambo either. He didn’t get any hits at the beginning but was hitting line drives regularly. Then maybe pressed or the injury might have started to affect him. I hope he gets well soon. Hart must go!


I understand the team made a poor decision in signing Hart, but its time to cut their losses. Unless he dials back the clock 3-4 years this week, I think his time with the Pirates is running out very quickly.


I feel badly for Lambo – the kid has suffered his share of nagging injuries over the past 2 years. I still think he’s going to be a good major league hitter – I just hope he gets a real shot and that he takes advantage of it. First base continues to be a train wreck and Josh Bell will likely not be the answer this year.


BFS: I have been following this kid since he played AA in Chattanooga when he was with the Dodgers, and I was thrilled when the Pirates got him. That said, he has been handed some awesome opportunities the past few years that he has not been able to convert.

The Pirates have a deep 1B with Alvarez and Rodriguez, and, IMO, Hart is not even a consideration at 1B any more. As our LH bench strength, Dacker and Lombardozzi have worked for and earned their opportunities. Bell is on the “not until June or July 2016” list, and if we get the right offer for Pedro, Neil Walker would be our LH hitting 1B.


Lambo has had some opportunities, but not extended opportunities to really see what he could do. Yes, he had a bad Spring Training in 2014 that ended with the Pirates making the ill fated deal for mighty Ike Davis. And, he didn’t do much in the opportunities he did have this year. But, I’d like to see the team give him as much of an opportunity as they gave Ike Davis last year, even though Ike was essentially just a singles hitter who also draw occasional walks.

I do agree, no way should we extend Alvarez – he is what he is. I don’t see any reason for him to suddenly become a 30-40 HR guy who also hits for a respectable average and fields his position well. He would be perfect as a DH in the AL – like in NY with their small ballpark.

On the other hand, I don’t think we would get a whole lot by trading Alvarez, unless he’s part of a larger trade with multiple players involved.


BFS: Davis was already an MLB player, and he hit 18 doubles/10 HR’s last year in 330 AB’s with 46 RBI’s. His W/K was excellent at 57W’s/74K’s. Not as good as we would have liked, but not all that bad. When you are in AAA at age 26, you hope to get just one chance – he got one at age 26 and then a second chance this year at age 27 – I think it is time to move beyond AL.


If those stats were for my second baseman, I would agree – not all that bad. But, for my first baseman who was supposedly a power hitter, those numbers were awful.

Bruce Humbert

OH PLEASE – you are smoking some really wild stuff if you think Ike Davis belongs in the major leagues – let alone starting at 1st base and batting 4th a lot of the time for a playoff contender. People on this site slam Pedro mercilessly – Ike is Pedro with no power – and he was AWFUL defensively.


First the good news…over the past 6 games, the Pirates have held the Brewers and Phillies combined to 9 runs! Now the bad news, the Pirates only scored 10 runs during those same 6 games!

Its great to sweep a team, no matter who it is, and the pitching has been superb. But, where has the offense gone that we saw at times in SF and Atlanta?

They better score more runs this week, as the White Sox are a much better hitting team than the Brewers or Phillies.

Jonathan C

I trained for and ran a marathon with plantar fascitis…it is painful as hell.


If Hart doesn’t do anything in the next couple games against lefties, I’d expect him to get DFA’d and for one of Decker, Hernandez, Lombardozzi, or Bowker to be called up in his place.

Bill W

I know they can’t dfa Lambo because he is on the DL but you have figure his days as a Pirate are limited. Better caliber players in Indy. Can’t for the life of me figure why Hart has a roster spot? Can anyone shed light on these two guys on their future with PBC?


No way Lambo’s days are numbered. If he were healthy, Hart would likely be gone and Lambo would be on the MLB roster.

Bill W

Disagree Sean Rodriguez is a lot better than Lamborghini who only recently started playing 1 base. Can you actually tell me that Lamborghini is a better first baseman than Rodriguez?

Luke S

If hitting is a part of your judgement, yeah. S Rod has little power overall, so thats only magnified at 1B. S Rod can play good defense, has some speed and has been hitting for a decent average. But Lambo, when not hitting .050 in BABIP, can be a .250+ hitter with a bit of pop and adequate 1B play.

S Rod is a utility guy, but there is a reason he only plays 1B as a defensive replacement.


Rodriguez just hit his 3rd homer in limited ABs. He is a major leaguer you cannot say that about Lambo with a straight face. You can add Bowker, Tabata, and Decker as donkeys.

Luke S

So if one doesnt hit like a starter (while not starting) in his first 100 at bats, he “isnt” a ML. Good to know. S Rod is useful, and quality at what he does. He has never been, and never will be, a plus hitter for 1B. You play him there against LHP each time and its hurting the offense unless they refuse to upgrade over Hart.


I guess you did not see that diving catch Rodriguez made in right field the other day. You are also incorrect as SR has good gap power. The gap between SR Lambo is about the distant between the Earth and Mars.

Luke S

Yeah, but no. S Rod would be the worst hitting 1B in the league, or very close to it. Very little power, limited extra base potential. He’s a quality utility player hitter, and that means inherently not a good option at 1B in a starting role.

Bill W

Honestly what has Lamborghini done on an MLB level? He was handed the job last year and puked it out. Where is his power? Altoona?

Luke S

His power showed up in 11 HRs in 60 games in AAA, and if 30 game SS each season in the majors is how we judge a player, every player can suck at any time. Cutch has sucked in 30 game sample sizes.

Lambo has hit .250 in 30 games, .230 in 30 games, and under .100 in 30 games. What does that tell you about his future? Nothing, because 100 at bats doesnt give a quality look at a players talent. What has he done at the MLB level? He’s been a PH who never got any consistent playing time. Fans dislike him for no legitimate reason.

Bill W

Adam Hyzdu was also a prolific hitter in Altoona but never contributed on the MLB side. Lambo could be a late bloomer and he is getting MLB service time but I just don’t see him contributing this year. After that your guess is as good as mine. First-base is a revolving door and we both know Alvarez days are numbered.


After next season Pedro will be a free agent. The Pirates already tried to trade him but the asking price was way to high. BTW, Hart received few ABs and he is a bum [with 6-8 pinch hits] but Lambo really failed in his big chance last year and he is a God sent. Strange !!!!

Luke S

Altoona does not equal AAA, so idk how that specific comparison makes any sense. Lambo likely wont contribute this year due to an injury that can take a ton of time to get well from, but he is a fine option going forward for bench roles. Decent power, okay ability to hit for average, ability to play 1B/RF and he is cheap. Not gonna make many all star games, but certainly not someone you write off after 100 at bats in the majors (with zero consistency in usage) after quality AAA numbers.


Actually- I was thinking the exact opposite. The only reason Hart is still on this team, is because of the lack of first base depth at AAA. They would have waived Hart by now if Lambo was healthy, but they have to keep him for now until Lambo returns, or until a trade is made because noone else can take that “spot”. When Lambo comes back, expect Hart to be gone, and I’d expect Lambo to stay on the team until/unless a trade is made for a bench player whom has the ability to man 1st, as they don’t want to lock rodriguez down to a platoon role


It would also be difficult to say there are better players at AAA, because Lambo was on the field with all those guys last year, and outplayed all of them. That’s why he’s here and they are there.

Bill W

Not Sean Rodriquez !

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