Hurdle embraces hectic 3-city, 7-day road trip

Pirates will play in Boston, Chicago and St. Louis over the next week

Hurdle embraces hectic 3-city, 7-day road trip

PITTSBURGH -- Whenever the Pirates face a potentially challenging situation, manager Clint Hurdle often reminds himself and others: It's not something they've got to do; it's something they get to do.

So Hurdle struck an optimistic tone about the Pirates' upcoming trip: seven games over seven days in three cities. After Wednesday night's game at PNC Park, the Bucs were set to fly to Boston for a makeup game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Thursday, with first pitch set for 2:05 p.m. ET.

Immediately afterward, the Pirates will set a course for Chicago, where they will play three day games against the defending World Series champion Cubs at Wrigley Field. Then it's off to St. Louis for a three-game series against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

The topic came up at lunch, Hurdle said, when friends asked him what he was up to this week.

"Well I get to go to Fenway, then I'm going to Wrigley, then I'm going to Busch," Hurdle said. "That's pretty good. Who's going to argue with that, if you like baseball? Even if you don't like baseball, I think you'd like to go see the stadiums. … It's one of the beautiful things about what we get to do, the way it lines up and how we get to do it."

If nothing else, this trip pales in comparison to the one-day jaunt they made -- a round trip from Pittsburgh to Colorado -- last June.

"It'll be a lot different than the trip we made to Colorado and flew halfway across the United States and played a day game and came back," Hurdle said.

In the home clubhouse at PNC Park on Wednesday, the performance team posted sleep and travel tips for the players. Hurdle said the Pirates have some ideas in place regarding how to properly rest players during this stretch of 13 straight games before their next off-day on April 20.

"We have a mindset of what we want to do and how we want to do it with certain individuals, and we'll see how that plays out," Hurdle said. "I do think the guys are fresh and they're ready to play, and they're looking forward to getting into some routines."

Around the horn
• Noticed anything different in the Pirates dugout this season? The players haven't been doing the pregame dance routine they performed the past few years.

Why not? The personnel has changed since the tradition began in 2015; Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison are still here, and they were arguably the stars of the nightly show. But a key member of the group, bucket-slapping/shaking percussionist Sean Rodriguez, signed with the Braves over the offseason.

• Left fielder Gregory Polanco was out of the lineup for Wednesday's series finale against the Reds, a planned day off to rest his sore left shoulder. Polanco should return to the lineup Thursday against Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez.

• Reliever Antonio Bastardo spent nearly 30 minutes during batting practice attempting to care for an injured bird that fell onto the field, unable to fly. Bastardo remained on the field after his teammates retreated to the clubhouse, waiting for the bird to be placed into a shoebox and taken outside the park.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.