The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

October 3, 2013

MLB playoff notebook

(Continued)

"Keeping the body fresh, keeping everything going I think is going to help propel us into the series."

The bullpen is rested, however, after Francisco Liriano went seven innings against the Reds.

"We're in a good place out there," manager Clint Hurdle said. "Nobody's tight, nobody's sore, nobody's ... for Oct. 2 it's as well-rested a bullpen as you can have."

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DIDN'T SEE THAT ONE COMING: David Hale was looking ahead to next season.

The Braves had other plans.

In a stunning move, manager Fredi Gonzalez added the 26-year-old rookie to the pitching staff for the NL division series against the Dodgers, even though he has only pitched in two big league games.

"I was taken back completely," Hale said. "I was like, 'Are you sure?'"

A native of suburban Atlanta, Hale spent nearly the entire season at Triple-A Gwinnett, where he went 6-9 with a 3.22 ERA. He was called up to the Braves when rosters expanded in September and made two starts. He earned his first win in the majors and was impressive both times, allowing just one run in 11 innings with 14 strikeouts and one walk.

That was enough to persuade the Braves to keep him around as a long reliever. He will likely get into a game only if a starter struggles early or the game goes deep into extra innings.

Hale isn't complaining.

"I was just along for the ride here in September," he said. "What I've experienced already was enough to make my entire year. This just tops it off."

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MVP STUMPING: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle knocked one out of the park when asked whether he thought Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen was the NL MVP.

"The NL MVP should be the baddest dude in the league," Hurdle said. "And the baddest dude in the league for me is Andrew McCutchen."

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