Nutting: Pirates front office to stay

Pirates' owner Bob Nutting

Pittsburgh Pirates owner Bob Nutting is upset about the way his team finished the season, but insists the franchise is heading in the right direction.

After a 20th consecutive losing season, Nutting considered firing the entire front office. But general manager Neal Huntington and his lieutenants were not purged

Nutting made his comments during his first formal meeting since Spring Training with media who cover the Pirates.

"We clearly have a number of things in the organization that have gone right," Nutting said, mindful of the club's jump from 57 wins in 2010 to 70 in 2011 to 79 last season. "As angry and frustrated as we were about August and September, it's taken me a month to come back and to recognize that last year was still the best season that we've had for 20 years and we didn't get there by accident.

"As an organization, I don't think we should fall back on scapegoats and pretending that there are easy answers and grabbing one or two people and walking them off the plank. We cannot minimize the strong performance for the first 3 1/2 months of the season."

Nutting said the boot-camp-style developmental camp for prospects, the source of a firestorm of criticism, will be modified, to a point where developing baseball skills is the highest priority.

"We should not be, will not be, have not been a paramilitary organization," Nutting said. "We should be focusing on baseball drills. I believe that 90 percent of the time, effort, energy that we have put into our development system has been focused on baseball appropriately. "I believe that our primary responsibility is to develop baseball players to play baseball and win championships at PNC Park," Nutting concluded. "If we can find the appropriate balance, where we have the safety of our players utmost in mind, that we have the baseball development utmost in mind, we can supplement that baseball focus with additional drills for team-building training."

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