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Two days before trading deadline, Pirates’ Neal Huntington has no `intent’ to sell

August 2, 2018

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington stands in the dugout before a game against the Mets Friday, July 27, 2018, at PNC Park.

Hopes for the immediate future looked better Sunday to Pirates general manager Neal Huntington than they did three weeks ago, and the results may emerge as soon as MLB’s trading deadline Tuesday.

When he met with reporters at PNC Park before the game against the New York Mets, Huntington indicated there is more reason to add than subtract from the major-league roster.

He made no promises, but when he was asked if it was his intent not to be a seller, he said, “That’s not our intent (to be sellers).”

On July 8 when the Pirates were 40-48 before their game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Huntington challenged his team to do better than 4-4 before the All-Star break or risk major changes to the composition of the roster.

Since then, the Pirates’ 15-3 record has changed attitudes and plans in the front office.

“This team has rebounded really well over the last 30 games,” he said. “We’d like to add. As we met with this group (of reporters) on July 8, the (early-season) optimism had turned to realism and that realism looks better now.

“We like this core. We’ve tried the buy and sell in the last couple of years and the buy was more future-oriented and the sell was we were taking better players off this club.

“A large majority of our players should be on this club again next year and, hopefully, for years to come in some cases and that’s a good place to be.”

He also said that injuries that have put left fielder Corey Dickerson (hamstring) and first baseman Josh Bell (oblique) on the disabled list also have an effect on trade plans.

“If you lose two starters for at least 10 days,” he said, “sure it does.”

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