MILWAUKEE -- Clint Hurdle, like the rest of the Pirates, will be wearing a custom jersey as part of Players' Weekend. But instead of wearing the childhood nickname he said some people tried to "shame" him into wearing -- a name that he had no intention of sharing -- the
MILWAUKEE -- Clint Hurdle, like the rest of the Pirates, will be wearing a custom jersey as part of Players' Weekend. But instead of wearing the childhood nickname he said some people tried to "shame" him into wearing -- a name that he had no intention of sharing -- the back of the Pirates manager's jersey reads "Not Done Yet."
A message like that certainly has some kind of meaning, but again, Hurdle left that to the imagination.
"There are a whole lot of things [it could mean]," he said. "Absolutely."
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It could suggest that despite the Pirates' recent offensive woes, having scored seven runs in their last seven games, and 7 1/2-game deficit in the chase for the second National League Wild Card entering Friday's game against the Brewers, Pittsburgh isn't completely out of contention.
Hurdle pointed to the Cardinals' recent surge as proof but also to his own experience with the 2007 Rockies, who won 14 of their final 15 games to force a one-game tiebreaker with the Padres, which Colorado won en route to the franchise's first World Series appearance.
"I've been around too long," Hurdle said. "I've seen too many things happen. I've been involved in a crazy comeback, and I've seen many other crazy comebacks. Ask me personally and I still think we're in the race until we're out of the race."
The schedule definitely leaves the possibility open. Friday marked the first of nine meetings between the Pirates and Brewers until the end of the regular season. Pittsburgh also has six more meetings with the Cardinals and four with the Cubs.
"It starts with a belief," Hurdle said. "It you don't have the belief, it doesn't have a very good chance of hatching, getting traction or happening. So I'm going to be the first believer."
The Pirates activated Sean Rodriguez (aka "Chich" for Players' Weekend) from the 10-day disabled list Friday before their series opener against the Brewers. Reliever Michael Feliz was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis to create a roster spot for Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is batting .163 with a .589 OPS this season and was in the midst of a 1-for-17 slump when he landed on the disabled list with a strained abdomen on Aug 7.
While a Minor League rehab stint was considered for Rodriguez, Hurdle said the club was satisfied with his progress "based on the activity and what he was able to continue to do."
"We've actually passed on [sending players on rehab] a few times, recently," Hurdle said. "He's not the first exception."
Hurdle added that infielder Josh Harrison (J-Hay) was available off the bench Friday and could return to the starting lineup on Saturday, while shortstop Jordy Mercer (The Rook) will see an increased workload over the weekend as he works his way past a left calf injury that landed him on the DL on Aug 16.
"I think we're going to increase his activity through this series and the off-day [on Monday] before we start in St. Louis," Hurdle said. "We'll see where he is at that particular point in time."
Andrew Wagner is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.