LAKELAND, Fla. -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has a nickname for Josh Harrison, and it's not the usual "J-Hay" by which he's known. Hurdle dubbed Harrison, Pittsburgh's sparkplug second baseman, the Pirates' CEO -- their "Chief Energy Officer."But after Harrison publicly suggested in January that he should be traded, some
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has a nickname for Josh Harrison, and it's not the usual "J-Hay" by which he's known. Hurdle dubbed Harrison, Pittsburgh's sparkplug second baseman, the Pirates' CEO -- their "Chief Energy Officer."
But after Harrison publicly suggested in January that he should be traded, some fans and media questioned if those feelings might affect his mood in the clubhouse. The answer has been borne out by his words and actions. Harrison's positive attitude and consistent effort on the field remain the same as ever.
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"These are my guys in here," Harrison said Sunday morning. "At the end of the day, I can control me. I'm going to be me. I don't know how to be anything but me."
Having said what he needed to say, Harrison has gone about his business-as-usual this spring. The notion that he might behave any differently surprised him.
"I said it when I first got here. You can't dwell on it. You look forward," Harrison said. "We got to strap it up and play a game. … Just to get back into the feel of it, that's something I don't take for granted."
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Take Saturday morning, for instance, when the Pirates ran through pickoff drills and other defensive work at LECOM Park.
Harrison lined up at second base and took turns with a few young prospects, including Kevin Newman and Cole Tucker. He offered Newman tips about making double-play flips to the shortstop -- Harrison made a similar switch to the other side of the bag in college -- and enthusiastically encouraged them, like one of the coaches running the workout, when they made a sharp play.
"I think we're all just ready to move past it and look forward to the season, because we've got some good guys in here," Harrison said. "You've got to enjoy this game, man, and that's one thing I do. I love this game."
Right-hander A.J. Schugel exited Sunday's 8-8 tie vs. the Tigers with head athletic trainer Bryan Housand in the fourth inning due to right shoulder discomfort. The club announced that Schugel is being examined and evaluated by the Pirates' medical staff.
Schugel induced a flyout from Nicholas Castellanos, gave up a single to Victor Martinez and walked Jeimer Candelario to begin the fourth. Then catcher Jacob Stallings, having noticed Schugel did not look right on the mound, called a trainer from the dugout and Schugel left the game.
Around the horn
• Second baseman Kevin Kramer, the Pirates' No. 9 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, crushed a three-run homer to right-center Sunday. Kramer slugged .500 in an injury-interrupted season for Double-A Altoona last year while batting .297 with a .380 on-base percentage.
• Alfredo Reyes, a Minor League callup for Sunday's game, knocked a ball to center field in the seventh inning and turned it into an inside-the-park home run.
"It was a fun play to watch," Hurdle said.
• Newman, the Pirates' first-round Draft pick in 2015, replaced Kramer at second base during Sunday's game. Newman has not played an inning anywhere other than shortstop in his professional career. But neither has Tucker, the Pirates' first-round pick in 2014. Tucker entered Sunday's game at shortstop, replacing Max Moroff in the sixth inning. Newman, 24, should return to Triple-A to start the season. Tucker, 21, finished last season in Double-A and should open the year there.
The Pirates will return to LECOM Park on Monday to face the Red Sox. Ivan Nova and Jameson Taillon, the Bucs' two most likely candidates to start on Opening Day, are scheduled to pitch. Nova will start and be followed by Taillon. Setup man George Kontos and closer Felipe Rivero are slated to make their first appearances of the spring, as are pitching prospects Dario Agrazal and Luis Escobar. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast via an exclusive webcast and on Gameday Audio.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.