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Despite swoon, Pirates still pondering additions

MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- Ten days ago, the Pirates climbed above .500 for the first time since early April and pulled within two games of first place in the National League Central. They then lost six of their next seven games before salvaging a 7-1 win over the Padres on Sunday at Petco Park, but remain 5 1/2 games behind the division-leading Cubs.heading into Sunday's series finale against the Padres at Petco Park, falling 5 1/2 games behind the division-leading Cubs.

Ten days ago, the question was whether the Pirates' hot streak made them buyers in advance of Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. So, did this skid make them sellers? The way general manager Neal Huntington described their approach, the Pirates won't make their Deadline decisions based on a handful of recent wins or losses.

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SAN DIEGO -- Ten days ago, the Pirates climbed above .500 for the first time since early April and pulled within two games of first place in the National League Central. They then lost six of their next seven games before salvaging a 7-1 win over the Padres on Sunday at Petco Park, but remain 5 1/2 games behind the division-leading Cubs.heading into Sunday's series finale against the Padres at Petco Park, falling 5 1/2 games behind the division-leading Cubs.

Ten days ago, the question was whether the Pirates' hot streak made them buyers in advance of Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. So, did this skid make them sellers? The way general manager Neal Huntington described their approach, the Pirates won't make their Deadline decisions based on a handful of recent wins or losses.

View Full Game Coverage

"We are in about the same spot as we were 10-15 days ago, as we were five days ago," Huntington said Sunday on his weekly KDKA-FM radio show with broadcaster Greg Brown. "We like this club. … We would like to give this club a shot. At the same time, we also need to be making sure we give next year's club a shot and the following year's club a shot."

MLB.com's Mark Feinsand recently reported the Bucs could be "moderate buyers," looking specifically for bench and bullpen help. Huntington said the Pirates have considered adding players for the stretch run as well as longer-term assets.

It seems unlikely the Pirates will part with marquee players like Andrew McCutchen or Gerrit Cole and more likely they will act as they did last year, simultaneously buying and selling. McCutchen hit a homer in the first inning Sunday, with Cole making the start.

Huntington has shown a willingness to deal mid-level prospects and part with players on expiring contracts, as he did with Mark Melancon last July. Their pending free agents this year include relievers Tony Watson and Juan Nicasio and first baseman/outfielder John Jaso.

Manager Clint Hurdle said he has been engaged in trade-related conversations with Huntington for the past three weeks but wouldn't specify any potential areas of need.

"My job and my focus is to maintain the balance and connections down here, the play on the field. Right now, we're in a hard spot. We need to get better," Hurdle said. "My focus needs to be in the clubhouse and on the field right now. Get our team back on track. … I trust my general manager and that group of men we've got working on this thing. They're active. They're having conversations. We'll see."

Around the horn
Gregory Polanco (strained left hamstring) ran around the infield Sunday morning, another step forward in his injury rehabilitation. Polanco has not yet participated in baserunning drills, typically the last step in a player's recovery from a hamstring injury. He is eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list Tuesday.

• The Pirates will keep their rotation in line after Monday's off-day. The Bucs have used only six starters this season, the fewest of any team in the Majors: the current five plus demoted rookie Tyler Glasnow. They started 14 different pitchers last year.

• Glasnow put together another dominant start for Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday. He struck out 12, including the first seven batters he faced, allowing one run on three hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings. He threw 102 pitches, including 72 strikes.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Pittsburgh Pirates