Kyle McPherson Makes Good Impression In Pittsburgh





PITTSBURGH — The final month of the season was a disaster for the Pirates.
The Pirates went 9-22 from Sept. 1 to fall out of contention in the National League East. However, the latter stages of the season meant opportunity for rookie righthander Kyle McPherson, and he made a good impression on manager Clint Hurdle and the Pirates staff.

McPherson, went 0-2, 2.73 in 10 games, including three starts, over 26 innings. He did enough for Hurdle to say McPherson will get a chance to win a spot in the starting rotation in spring training next year.

"He has good stuff and good mound presence," Hurdle said. "I thought he competed very well, especially for his first time at this level. He has what you're looking for and just needs to sprinkle some experience on it."

A key to McPherson's success during his time in the major leagues was an improved curveball. That gives him a third pitch to go with a fastball that sits at 91-93 mph and an above-average changeup.

The curve was particularly effective in McPherson's final start, when he pitched six shutout innings against the Reds. McPherson struck out five while allowing just four hits and one walk.

McPherson, 24, went 3-5, 4.07 with 46 strikeouts and five walks in 49 innings with Double-A Altoona before posting a 0.98 ERA in three starts with Triple-A Indianapolis.

McPherson primarily played shortstop in college at Mobile (Ala.) and went 1-7, 6.02 on the mound before being selected by the Pirates in the 14th round of the 2007 draft.

"I really didn't know anything about pitching until I came into pro ball," McPherson said. "I was very raw. Pitching was just something I did when the team needed me in college. I really had no idea what I was doing. I've come a long way."

PITTSBURGERS


• Hitting coach Gregg Ritchie resigned in order to become the head coach at his alma mater George Washington (see Page 36 for more details).

• Pirates owner Bob Nutting promised in the final days of the season that he would conduct a thorough review of the organization, including taking a long look at the player development and scouting departments. However, it appeared Nutting will not make any major changes in either department.