PITTSBURGH -- The Bucs' hunt for reinforcements is on. And there don't seem to be any hidden agendas for a team with the National League's worst offense (according to runs scored) and its third-best pitching staff (per ERA). "We'd like to first look for ways to impact the offense," said manager Clint Hurdle, who has huddled this week with GM Neal Huntington to discuss possible moves, both internally and externally. "We do feel like we're in a competitive position on the mound. We do have a couple of areas where we've got some surplus, some depth that might be attractive to somebody else." That is managerial code for swapping pitching for punch. It is never that simple, obviously, and it could be weeks before current wallflowers hit the dance floor.
"What you want versus what you can get or what's available -- who wants to dance with you, finding a match -- those things all come into play," Hurdle said. "Most teams right now are holding everything close to the vest. Around July 4, things might heat up a little bit. Everyone then will have a better indicator." The Bucs' pitching depth certainly is not as profound as it was before Charlie Morton underwent Tommy John surgery. But Jeff Karstens is one rehab start from returning, Chris Leroux (strained pectoral muscle) also nears coming off the 60-day disabled list, and there is a phalanx of strong arms backed up in Triple-A (Rudy Owens, Justin Wilson, Jeff Locke).