There's still 13 days until the Pirates play? Seriously? 13 days we have to keep reading stories about Nyjer Morgan's inability to be a leadoff hitter? 13 days that the words "Zach Duke" and "dominating" can appear in the same headline unironically?
I'm trying to stay out of the Nyjer Morgan debate this spring because I think everyone here knows how I feel and I don't want to hammer away on one point and seem exceedingly negative, but this sequence of quotes in that Post-Gazette story cracks me up.
First, John Russell:
"Getting on base is a big key," Pirates manager John Russell said yesterday, when Morgan and Andrew McCutchen were 1-2 in the order and got on base five times in eight plate appearances, four of those walks. "However he can do it, with a bunt or a walk ... if he gets on base, then good things can happen for us."
Then, Neal Huntington:
"He's expanding the zone too much," Huntington said then. "He hasn't utilized the bunt enough. He does need to take some steps forward. It's awfully hard to lose a job in spring training." But Huntington soon after compared Morgan's situation with that of a bullpen crew he similarly called out: "Because we have options, we need to see some performance."
Finally, Nyjer Morgan himself:
"Oh, yeah," Morgan responded yesterday morning. He knows whereof Huntington speaks. "They expect me to get on base. Work on my bunting. Work the counts. Draw walks. Learn how to be a consistent leadoff hitter. Do that, and I think everything will take care of itself.
"I'm just working on what I have to do. I'm just not getting hits, but it's spring training, know what I mean? I'm definitely not worried about that. Just trying to work on having good at-bats, trying to be patient. It's time to lock it in a little bit and get it going."Right, so Russell and Huntington both say that Morgan needs to find a way to get on base, and Morgan totally knows that and he knows he's not doing a good job of it, but man, that's not his fault.