Nate McLouth's sequel was nothing like the original.
The Pirates cut ties Friday with their one-time All-Star Gold Glove center fielder by designating him for assignment. That means they have 10 days to trade, waive or release him, though it's immensely unlikely anyone will pick him with a $1.75 million salary.
McLouth, 30, batted .140 over 57 at-bats, with two doubles, two RBI, 18 strikeouts and five walks. He rarely achieved so much as solid contact and, in finishing on an 0-for-20 tailspin, appeared to be trying to reach base by just walking.
Even if this barely qualifies, it's the first significant move by general manager Neal Huntington to address one of the worst offenses Major League Baseball has witnessed in the past half-century. Many more changes are needed, as there are still four other position players -- Michael McKenry, Casey McGehee, Yamaico Navarro and Clint Barmes -- batting below .200, plus several others close.
"Nate's not the reason our offense hasn't produced the way we feel it should produce," manager Clint Hurdle said. "There's no one man who's tied to this. There could be one decision or two decisions made over time to try and reconnect some things. He gave us everything he had. He feels at least good about the effort as I do. And the intent. Just nobody is satisfied with the outcome."
The Pirates' average of 2.822 runs per game, including their 1-0 shutout of the Cubs on Friday night at PNC Park, is the third-lowest in Major League Baseball over the past half-century. The only teams lower were the 1968 White Sox (2.858) and the 1963 Colt 45s (2.858).
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