(BRADENTON, Fla.) — The Pittsburgh Pirates were right in the hunt before the All-Star break in the NL Central in 2012, but failed to make the playoffs for the 20th straight year, finishing 79-83.
Under third year manager Clint Hurdle, who has gotten the best out of his players since being hired in 2011, the Pirates are looking to be around all season long in 2013.
“We’re in a position now we’ve got to make a run, we’ve got to push the chips in early in the season,” Pirates owner Bob Nutting said on Wednesday.
The team remains under financial constraints playing in a smaller market, but has a $70 million payroll — a club record — in 2013. Nutting believes this team has what it takes to get to October.
“The level of expectation has been and needs to be that we’re going to win a championship,” he said. “We’re going to be playing exciting games throughout the summer as we did last year. We’re going to play meaningful games in September. We’re going to compete for a championship and put ourselves in position for a sixth World Series in Pittsburgh.”
The last postseason appearance from Pittsburgh was in 1992; their last World Series title was in 1979. The Pirates will begin their 2013 season on April 1 at home against the Cubs.
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