August 3: Nationals (33-72) @ Pirates (45-59)

Back on the beat and spent part of the afternoon introducing myself to the number of new faces in the clubhouse. It’s a plenty different clubhouse than it was at this time last year, but for all that these guys have gone through, you do have to commend how upbeat most of them are.

Phil Dumatrait also made a guest appearance in the home clubhouse on Monday afternoon. He’ll actually be around through Wednesday before going to Triple-A Indianapolis for his next rehab start on Thursday. He is not throwing a side session (because of the timing) in front of pitching coach Joe Kerrigan while he’s here.

As for todays news, notes and randomness…

  • After starting at first during both of the games this weekend, Garrett Jones is back in right field. That gives Steve Pearce a chance to start at first on Monday. It seems like the Pirates are going to give Pearce and Brandon Moss a fairly equal amount of at-bats for now, just shifting Jones from right to first to do so. Said manager John Russell in his pregame session: “We need to make sure somebody doesn’t sit too long. We still like Brandon. We’ll find ways to keep Brandon in the lineup and continue to get Steve Pearce some at-bats, too. To get an extended look, we don’t have to play him seven days a week. We still believe in what Brandon’s done. We don’t want to get him stale.”
  • Ryan Doumit enters Monday’s game on an 0-for-15 skid. That streak comes after he hit safely in seven consecutive games.
  • On Monday, RHP Kevin Hart threw his second bullpen session in front of Kerrigan. All reports were good, and Hart is scheduled to make his Pittsburgh debut against Arizona on Thursday.
  • Double-A starter Daniel Moskos has been placed on the disabled list because of a blister on his left index finger. Moskos is 8-8 with a 3.81 ERA in 21 appearances (20 starts) for the Curve this season.
  • Jones was selected as one of six finalists for MLB.com’s Pepsi Clutch Player of the Month for July. To vote for the award, go here.
  • More on Jones: MLB’s Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month awards will be announced on Tuesday. Jones, who led all players with 10 homers and a .700 slugging percentage in July, is expected to get strong consideration for both.
  • The last Pirates player to earn a Player of the Month honor was Jason Bay back in 2006.
  • The Pirates have outhomered opponents 18-6 in the last 10 games played at PNC Park.
  • Steven Jackson joined the team on Sunday and is now available out of the ‘pen. Russell will use him primarily in situations where he needs a groundball, much as Russell did during Jackson’s stint with the Pirates earlier this season.
  • The Pirates announced today that they will host “Fabulous Casino Night” this Sunday at the Lexus Club at PNC Park. The event begins at 7 p.m. ET and will be hosted by John Russell and his wife, Jamie. President Frank Coonelly and other players will also be present at the event. For a donation of $150, you can get $500 in “play” money. Food and drinks will be free. For more information and to reserve your spot, go here. All proceeds will go to Pirates Charities and the Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Pennsylvania.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  3. Garrett Jones (RF)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Steve Pearce (1B)
  6. Delwyn Young (2B)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Charlie Morton (RHP)

Nationals lineup:

  1. Nyjer Morgan (CF)
  2. Christian Guzman (SS)
  3. Ryan Zimmerman (3B)
  4. Adam Dunn (1B)
  5. Josh Willingham (LF)
  6. Elijah Dukes (RF)
  7. Josh Bard (C)
  8. Alberto Gonzalez (2B)
  9. Garrett Mock (RHP) 

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