Pittsburgh’s ill-advised decision to put their Florida instructional league prospects thru Navy SEALS drills has been ridiculed far and wide, but Pirates club president Frank Cooley (above) insists, “nothing could be further from the truth” when it comes to claims his players are poorly prepared. Indeed, the next time something like this happens, there’s no one you’d rather have on your side. From the Altoona Mirror’s Cory Gigers :

“When we struggled at the end of last year, there were a lot of things that were overblown, in my opinion, because people were rightly frustrated and disappointed in the major league team’s play over the last two months,” Coonelly said on my radio show Tuesday while attending the Curve Booster Club’s annual members-only dinner at the UVA Club.

Coonelly addressed what he thinks is the issue, and his words sounded at least in part like an explanation for Kyle Stark’s highly unusual implementation of a military-type training regimen for minor leaguers after the season.

“It’s mental conditioning,” Coonelly said, “the mental toughness that is more of an issue than the player hasn’t been drilled, hasn’t been trained on these things, doesn’t know how to do them.

“It’s performing the fundamentals of the game in the highest pressure situation, and so we continue to work with our players throughout our system … teaching them how to perform well under pressure situations, how to control their emotions, how to be mentally and physically tough so that when they face the adversity, whether it be in the minor leagues or when they come up to Pittsburgh, they’re prepared.”