Results tagged ‘ Chris Jakubauskas ’

Lincoln on DL with neck soreness

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Triple-A right-hander Brad Lincoln has been placed on the Minor League disabled list due to neck soreness/stiffness. The ailment isn’t expected to do anything more than delay Lincoln’s next start.

By putting Lincoln on the DL (retroactive to Aug. 20), it opened up a spot on Indianapolis’ roster for right-hander Chris Jakubauskas. The Pirates recently outrighted Jakubauskas to the Minors after he completed his Minor League rehab stint and came off the 60-man roster.

Lincoln still seems a likely candidate to come up as a September call-up, and this setback isn’t expected to affect that. He should be pitching again by the start of next month.

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Bucs Medical Report

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

I’ve updated this at least five times tonight. Let’s hope this is the last one.

  • Steve Pearce: Pearce sat out Thursday’s Triple-A Indianapolis game and was out of the starting lineup again on Friday because of left knee soreness. Pearce will remain on rehab assignment for the time being (though his ankle is fine), and the Pirates will make an announcement on what’s next after more is known about his status. An update from the Pirates said that Pearce may need to have an MRI on that knee.
  • Chris Jakubauskas: While making his first Minor League rehab appearance with Triple-A Indianapolis, Jakubauskas left Thursday’s game with a strain of his right hip flexor. He had increased tightness and soreness today, so the Pirates have ended his rehab assignment. He will is expected to miss at least a week with this injury. You’ll remember that Jakubauskas was working his way back from a concussion he sustained in late April when he was struck in the head by a line drive. The good news is he has had no concussion signs.
  • Starling Marte: Marte, who had surgery in mid-May after fracturing his left hamate bone, will begin his Minor League rehab assignment with the Gulf Coast League Pirates on Saturday. The Pirates plan to have him play for about a week before determining the next step for the outfielder. At the time of the surgery, Marte was expected to miss 8-10 weeks.
  • Zach Duke: Duke threw 46 pitches in Friday’s side session, which was his first session throwing off the mound since being shut down with a left elbow flexor pronator strain. He said he felt no discomfort in his elbow during the session. Duke is scheduled to throw a pair of Minor League rehab starts in Altoona, with the first being this Monday (July 5). If all goes well in those two outings, Duke would then be ready to rejoin the club after the All-Star break.
  • Neil Walker: The second baseman was out early practicing double play turns this afternoon, and the team is still optimistic that he’ll be cleared to play on Saturday. Walker will go through a full workout today — including BP — and then he’ll be reevaluated on Saturday to make sure he’s not feeling any effects of it.
  • Eric Fryer: Fryer became the latest Bradenton Marauder hit in the face by a pitch. Fryer was struck in the face on Thursday and sustained some orbital fractures. He is scheduled to see a specialist next Tuesday, after which doctors will determine the next course of action. Fryer was hitting .274 with 13 doubles, four triples, seven homers and 34 RBIs in 57 games before the injury.
  • Jose Tabata: The left fielder said he felt some sorness in his left hand when taking some swings in the indoor batting cage this afternoon. He was spiked by Jimmy Rollins in the left hand on Thursday night and sustained cuts on his ring finger, pinky and top of his left hand. The two fingers were wrapped tightly in tape today. Tabata will test his hand again in BP shortly and will make a determination afterward if his hand feels good enough to play. Right now, he is in the starting lineup.

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July 1 Odds and Ends

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Catching up on some recent news….

  • Second baseman Neil Walker has targeted Saturday as a potential return date. He went through Wednesday without any headaches or other concussion symptoms, and that cleared him to be able to play catch and take groundballs on Thursday. Walker suffered a concussion last Friday in Oakland when he collided with right fielder Ryan Church.
  • Bobby Crosby is back in the lineup and starting at short. In all, he missed just two games (and part of a third) after his collision. Manager John Russell hasn’t said as much, but I’d expect Crosby to get regular playing time like he was before the injury. Ronny Cedeno has not been impressive at all lately (six hits in his last 65 at-bats), and Crosby was doing well in the starting role over the last few weeks.
  • Russell said that his decision to move Pedro Alvarez up into the No. 2 hole was done in hopes that he’d see more pitches to hit batting in front of Andrew McCutchen. It’s also a spot where opposing managers will have to think twice before bringing in a situational lefty to face Alvarez. Why? Because hitting behind Alvarez is McCutchen, who is a career .341 hitter against lefties. So you either burn two pitchers in a span of two hitters, or you take your chances against McCutchen.
  • Left-hander Dana Eveland cleared waivers and has been sent to Triple-A Indianapolis. It remains to be seen whether Eveland will pitch in a starting or relieving role with the Indians.
  • Right-hander Chris Jakubauskas will continue his Minor League rehab work in Triple-A now. Jakubauskas last pitched for high-A Bradenton on June 27. He went 4 1/3 innings and allowed seven hits and three earned runs in that outing. He will be used in a multi-inning relief and spot starting role. The Pirates have not announced a specific timetable for a potential return yet.
  • Speaking of timetables, as I noted earlier in the week, don’t expect to see Zach Duke to be back until after the All-Star break. He’s scheduled to throw off the mound for the first time during this homestand and will likely need two side sessions before then making a Minor League rehab start.
  • Happy Anniversary to Garrett Jones, who on this day last year arrived in Pittsburgh and established himself as a key piece in this lineup not long after. In 159 games over the past year, Jones has batted .289 with 38 doubles, 31 homers and 91 RBIs. Only 10 players in the National League have more home runs during that year-long span.
  • With his save on Wednesday, seven of Octavio Dotel’s 16 saves this year have come against the Cubs. That is the most saves against any team before the start of July since saves started being officially recorded in 1969 (thanks Elias Sports Bureau for that tidbit).

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June 2: Cubs (24-29) @ Pirates (22-31)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

MLB released All-Star Game online voting totals on Tuesday, and once again, the Pirates didn’t have a player dent the Top 5 (or Top 15 with outfielders). The glaring omission, obviously, has to be center fielder Andrew McCutchen.

Consider that he entered Wednesday…

  • Ranked 2nd among all NL outfielders with a .310 batting average
  • Ranked 6th among all NL outfielders with a .385 on-base percentage
  • Ranked 2nd among all NL outfielders with 13 stolen bases
  • Ranked 2nd among all NL outfielders with 61 hits

Sure, McCutchen is not among the HR and RBI leaders, but that’s not where he is expected to be. There’s no doubt that McCutchen has caught the idea of players/coaches/managers around the league all year — I’m always getting quotes (unsolicited) about the outfielder from our MLB.com writers covering other teams — but he’s just not getting the public recognition his season deserves. Part of that likely has to do with the fact that he doesn’t play for a big-market team or for a top club. We’ll see if it changes as the month progresses.

Voting will continue online at MLB.com for another month. You can cast your vote here. Updated NL voting totals will be released weekly.

TODAY’S NEWS AND NOTES:

  • This moustache and high socks fad has caught on in the clubhouse, but I’m going to make you read more about Bobby Crosby’s initial challenge to grow out the facial hair in the Pirates Beat on the main site a little later. Don’t expect to see any razors until the team loses.
  • In case you missed it after last night’s game, lefty Jack Taschner has been activated off the DL and Steven Jackson was optioned back to Triple-A Indianapolis.
  • First baseman Steve Pearce (sprained right ankle) was cleared to hit off the tee on Wednesday for the first time. “Moving on up,” he said, smiling. He has not yet begun any sort of running. That will be last on the list.
  • Starter Chris Jakubauskas is headed to Bradenton, Fla., tomorrow to continue his throwing program. He threw two sides here and will throw at least two more sides and two sessions of batting practice down there before the Pirates continue a Minor League rehab assignment. The best news continues to be that he is feeling no more effects from being hit in the head on a line drive.
  • Outfielder Ryan Church may have come back from a bruised right wrist injury weeks ago, but he said on Wednesday that this series has marked the first time since the initial injury (May 7) that the wrist hasn’t affected him.
  • Jeff Karstens is likely to start for the Pirates on Sunday, though manager John Russell hesitated to say that was etched in stone. Newly-acquired Dana Eveland is unlikely to be ready to join the rotation by then. And Brian Burres is being skipped.
  • As for Burres, Russell said he’d be a bullpen option tonight, but the plans for him moving forward were fuzzy. That sure seems to suggest that he might be on his way out when Eveland arrives on Friday. The numbers just don’t seem to add up otherwise.
  • Pirates president Frank Coonelly held his monthly online chat on Wednesday, and here is the transcript. Coonelly discussed the Draft throughout, and to complement that, I’ll have two Draft stories coming out over the next two days to go into more detail on the Pirates’ Draft plans.
  • While we’re talking Draft, MLB.com Draft guru Jonathan Mayo made his latest first-round predictions on Wednesday. His guess at who the Pirates will take with the No. 2 pick? High school shortstop Manny Machado. Though he cautions everyone not to count out high school pitcher Jameson Taillon. Here is Mayo’s full list.
  • For those of you not close enough to get FSN Pittsburgh, MLB Network has announced that it will be telvising Stephen Strasburg’s Major League debut against the Pirates next Tuesday. You had to figure that was coming…
  • Recently benched second baseman Aki Iwamura was out taking groundballs at third base this afternoon. Iwamura played third during his time in Japan, and the Pirates are refamiliarizing him with the position so that he can be an option there off the bench.
  • How good have the Pirates been against the Cubs this year? Well, the team is 7-1 and has won five straight games against Chicago at PNC Park. That comes after the Pirates went 1-8 in their previous nine against the Cubs. Garrett Jones and McCutchen have been especially potent against Chicago pitching — the two have combined to go 27-for-53 with four homers, 17 RBIs and 17 runs scored.
  • According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Pirates’ seven wins this season while scoring three or fewer runs trails only the Padres, who have won 12 times while scoring no more than three runs.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Neil Walker (2B)
  3. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  4. Garrett Jones (1B)
  5. Ryan Church (RF)
  6. Ryan Doumit (C)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Zach Duke (LHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Ryan Theriot (2B)
  2. Jeff Baker (RF)
  3. Marlon Byrd (CF)
  4. Xavier Nady (1B)
  5. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  6. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
  7. Geovany Soto (C)
  8. Starlin Castro (SS)
  9. Carlos Zambrano (RHP)

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May 31: Cubs (24-27) @ Pirates (20-31)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

The blog is back, as am I after a much-welcomed getaway to Europe over the past two weeks. And as Lastings Milledge informed me in the clubhouse this morning, there will not be any more European adventures in my future since the team didn’t do so well during my absence. We’ll see about that…

Let’s jump right back in, but not before I thank all the men and women serving this country in the military. Thank you for what you do. And a special shout out to all you Pirates fans overseas who stay connected by reading this blog. I know there some of you since I have received notes from you. Thank you.

TODAY’S NEWS AND NOTES:

  • Manager John Russell announced that Neil Walker will be the team’s regular second baseman moving forward. Walker has hit safely in four of his first six games since being promoted last Tuesday. And with Aki Iwamura never finding his footing this season, the switch has been made. Iwamura, who is the highest paid player on the club, will be moved into a bench role after having nearly two months to get back on track.
  • Walker might also spell Andy LaRoche some time at third base if LaRoche continues to have any back issues. But the goal is to have Walker get comfortable at second, a position that he began playing only in Spring Training.
  • With Iwamura out of the lineup, the Pirates will use Andrew McCutchen as their primary leadoff hitter. Russell liked what McCutchen offered out of the No. 3 spot, but they have little other choice than to use him at the top of the lineup. For now, Walker is hitting second. Russell would not commit to him staying there, but said noted that it’s been a good fit thus far.
  • While I was gone, lefty Donnie Veal was placed on the Triple-A DL with soreness above the ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow. He is scheduled to visit with Dr. James Andrews later this week. A visit to Dr. Andrews often isn’t a good thing, as Kevin Hart was reminded of earlier this month.
  • The Pirates reacquired Jonathan Van Every from the Red Sox in exchange for infield Josue Peley. Pittsburgh had dealt Van Every to Boston on April 24. Van Every will join Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday.
  • Spoke with Chris Jakubauskas this morning, and he remains encouraged with his progress. He threw 30 pitches (all fastballs) on Saturday and is scheduled to throw 40-45 in his next session on Tuesday. He’ll likely mis in some sinkers and changeups this time.
  • Steve Pearce (sprained right ankle) has had his protective boot removed and is walking with hardly a limp. Pearce said the ankle is still sensative in spots, but that it is improving.
  • Lefty Jack Taschner will make his second Minor League rehab appearance with Double-A Altoona later tonight. Taschner is eligible to come off the DL later this week.
  • Former Pirates reliever John Grabow has been placed on the DL with a left MCL sprain on Monday. That means the Cubs lefty won’t be facing his former team in this series.
  • A reminder to women interested: Milledge will host a “Bats Against Breast Cancer” baseball clinic from 7:45 am – 1:35 pm before the team’s game against the Giants on Sunday. For those interested in more details, go here.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Neil Walker (2B)
  3. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Church (LF)
  6. Ryan Doumit (C)
  7. Jeff Clement (1B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Ross Ohlendorf (RHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Kosuke Fukudome (RF)
  2. Marlon Byrd (CF)
  3. Derrek Lee (1B)
  4. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  5. Mike Fontenot (2B)
  6. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
  7. Geovany Soto (C)
  8. Starlin Castro (SS)
  9. Randy Wells (RHP)

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May 9: Cardinals (19-12) @ Pirates (14-16)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Some of my best baseball memories came from my mom.

Of course, there is the story she tells so proudly about how she dove over three people to grab a foul ball and then yelled at the people piled on top of her to get off because she wasn’t letting go. I can’t completely vouch for the veracity of the story since I was walking around Comiskey Park with my sister trying to find blue cotton candy while this happened. But I will say, mom did have the ball when we returned.

For whatever reason, Mom tolerated my infatuation for baseball when I was a kid. And yes, sometimes I could be extreme. She provided me with all the notebooks I ever needed to keep score. She began a library of videotapes of games I asked her to record — She still has every game from the ’95, ’96 and ’99 World Series’ on VHS. She has Mark McGwire’s 62nd and Cal Ripken’s 2,131st in the archive, too.

Mom agreed to the family vacations to old Busch Stadium, Veterans Stadium, Wrigley Field, Riverfront Stadium and Cooperstown. She even encouraged me to convince my fourth grade teacher that for our “pirates” unit in school, I should do my project not on Blackbeard or Captain Kid, but on the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It worked. I still have the project as proof.

Most importantly, though, Mom encouraged me to pursue my dream of covering baseball. Maybe it’s because she’s my Mom, but she always believed in me. And for that I am truly thankful.

Mom, thanks for everything you’ve done to mold me into the person I am. Happy Mother’s Day. And I hope your Chicago White Sox can give you a win today.

NYC_January_2010_006.jpg

Also wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to all other moms out there.

TODAY’S NEWS AND NOTES:

  • Right-hander Jeff Karstens will move to the bullpen for the time being, meaning that Brian Burres will remain in the rotation. Burres will make his next start on Friday in Chicago. Karstens can give the Pirates length in the ‘pen, though Russell emphasized that Karstens’ versatility will allow for him to be used in a variety of roles.
  • With Karstens moving to the bullpen, you can expect Brian Bass to be sent down tomorrow to make room for Ross Ohlendorf to come off the DL.
  • The Pirates will eventually have to make another pitching decision when Brendan Donnelly comes off the DL, though the Pirates don’t expect that to be until the next homestand. Donnelly played catch on Sunday and is progressing. He still needs to throw a few side sessions and maybe in a simulated game, though, before the Pirates activate him. That means he will not be ready when he’s eligible to come off on Thursday.
  • Right-hander Chris Jakubauskas has had a little bit of a setback on Friday when he began experiencing some more dizziness after doing some exercises. He is going to see a doctor again and will continue to take things very slowly.
  • After going 24-52 against teams from the NL Central last year, the Pirates have gotten off to a 9-8 start against division foes this season. A win on Sunday would give the club a fourth series win over a team in the Central.
  • The Pirates have gone 3-1 in their first four series at home this year, which is the team’s best start at home since going 3-0-2 in the first five series of the ’94 season.
  • Matt Holliday remains out of the Cardinals’ lineup still with a slight groin strain.
  • In support of the MLB and Susan G. Komwn for the Cure program that raises breast cancer awareness, you’re going to see all sorts of pink around the ballpark today. All players will be wearing pink phiten titanium necklaces, pink wristbands and pink ribbons on their uniforms. Lastings Milledge, Steve Pearce and Paul Maholm will wear pink batting gloves. Nine players — Bobby Crosby, Jason Jaramillo, Ryan Church, Andy LaRoche, Delwyn Young, Aki Iwamura, Garrett Jones, Jeff Clement, Ronny Cedeno – will swing pink bats.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  7. Jeff Clement (1B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Paul Maholm (LHP)

Cardinals lineup:

  1. Joe Mather (CF)
  2. Ryan Ludwick (LF)
  3. Albert Pujols (1B)
  4. David Freese (3B)
  5. Yadier Molina (C)
  6. Nick Stavinoha (RF)
  7. Brendan Ryan (SS)
  8. Adam Wainwright (RHP)
  9. Tyler Greene (2B)

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May 4: Cubs (13-13) @ Pirates (10-15)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

I had brief flashbacks to Spring Training this afternoon as the entire Pirates team took the field for extra work at 3:20 pm. It didn’t help us (the media) since we typically have a small window (beginning at 3:30) to talk to players pregame… but manager John Russell felt that after a 3-7 road trip, some extra work is needed.

The work ran the gamut — pickoffs, fielding drills, cutoffs, etc — much like it does in the spring. It’s not all that often that there is this type of full-team workout on the field during the season, but the Pirates have done it from time to time to time before, especially when they’re at home.

The most notable observation of the session was that Andrew McCutchen (mild right ankle sprain) stood on the side watching. He was out on the warning track talking with the team’s trainers for a while before moving toward the dugout and playing spectator. McCutchen is out of the lineup tonight, saying that the ankle was still feeling a bit tender when he tested it out. 

McCutchen is optimistic that he’ll be back in the lineup on Wednesday. 

Here’s the rest of your news and notes…

  • Reliever Brendan Donnelly has been placed on the DL with a left oblique strain. Donnelly has not pitched since April 27, which is when he suffered the injury. He expects to be off as soon as he’s eligible (May 13).
  • With Donnelly on the DL, the Pirates have recalled 1B/OF Steve Pearce from Triple-A. Pearce has been raking down there this season, hitting .349 with 16 extra-base hits before the call-up. The question is whether that production can finally translate at the Major League level. To this point, it hasn’t. In 342 big-league at-bats, Pearce has a .237 average, eight homers and 37 RBIs with the Pirates.
  • Pearce isn’t starting against RHP Ryan Dempster tonight, but Russell said to expect Pearce to play first against a left-handed starter tomorrow night. If Jeff Clement continues to struggle and Pearce produces, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a platoon situation evolve. That will be something to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.
  • GM Neal Huntington has not yet gotten word about Kevin Hart’s surgery, which was performed by Dr. James Andrews this morning. Assuming all goes well, Hart is looking at about a nine-month recovery period.
  • The Pirates have lost outfielder John Raynor. Raynor was claimed back by the Marlins, who had to pay the Pirates $25,000 for the purchase. Huntington confirmed that a trade attempt was made, but the Marlins’ asking price was too high.
  • LHP Brian Burres has been named Thursday’s starter.
  • Ross Ohlendorf will make his second Minor League rehab start tomorrow with Altoona. If all goes well, he will start for the Pirates on May 10.
  • Congratulations to Octavio Dotel and his wife Massiel, who welcomed their first child, Eduardo, on Monday. Dotel was beaming today when asked about the new addition.
  • Chris Jakubauskas (head contusion and concussion) remains in good spirits as he continues to slowly work his way back. He was able to begin light exercises on Monday and reported no recent headaches or dizziness.
  • You’ll notice again that Russell has the pitcher batting ninth again, which makes sense given McCutchen’s absence. Remember that the reasoning behind having the pitcher bat eighth was to get three hitters in front of McCutchen.
  • So here’s a good one: Paul Maholm got his ERA to drop from 4.83 to 4.26 before ever throwing a pitch on Tuesday night. How, you might ask? Well, Houston’s official scorer went back and changed a hit to an error in Maholm’s start there on the April 23, and that took away two earned runs from Maholm’s line.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Ryan Doumit (C)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Church (CF)
  6. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  7. Jeff Clement (1B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Paul Maholm (LHP)

Cubs lineup:

  1. Ryan Theriot (SS)
  2. Jeff Baker (2B)
  3. Derrek Lee (1B)
  4. Marlon Byrd (CF)
  5. Aramis Ramirez (3B)
  6. Alfonso Soriano (LF)
  7. Xavier Nady (RF)
  8. Geovany Soto (C)
  9. Ryan Dempster (RHP)

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April 30: Pirates (10-12) @ Dodgers (8-14)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Dodger Stadium is proving to be a much more pleasant work setting today than it was yesterday. In addition to having issues with the blog software on Thursday (sorry, that’s why there was no usual pregame blog), the wind here yesterday was brutal. With winds apparently close to 40 mph, even laptops were being moved by the biggest gusts. It’s always a challenge when you’re trying to hold down your scorebook, notebooks, notes and media guide while typing.

And no, there were no windows to shield us from the element.

The winds are just mild today, so Charlie Morton won’t get the same benefit that Brian Burres did on Thursday when home runs were going to be near impossible to get through the wind tunnel. I feel like you could have labeled each of Morton’s last three starts as “critical” given his poor start, and this is yet another.

At some point — and the Pirates need it to be soon — Morton is going to have to prove that having great “stuff” can also make himself an effective big-league pitcher. As Morton told me yesterday, it all starts with his head. He hasn’t made any huge changes to his game plan. He simply wants to be aggressive and execute.

While we wait for Morton to take the mound, here is your news…

  • In case you missed it earlier, Kevin Hart was diagnosed with a torn labrum in his right shoulder on Friday. Pirates medical director Patrick DeMeo has recommended that Hart undergo season-ending surgery. Hart will seek a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews next week, but even he sounded resigned to the fact that his season is over when speaking by phone on Friday.
  • The Indianapolis rotation continues to be a merry-go-round of pitchers. The Pirates have already borrowed Chris Jakubauskas, Jeff Karstens and Burres. Now Hart is out for the season. Jakubauskas is recovering from a head injury, too. In order to fill Hart’s spot in the Triple-A rotation, the Pirates have promoted RHP Michael Crotta from Double-A Altoona.
  • Ross Ohlendorf gave the Pirates some good news on Friday with a 43-pitch start in an extended Spring Training game. Ohlendorf reported no issues with his back afterward. He was throwing consistently between 88-93 mph and reached 94 a few times with his fastball.
  • Ohlendorf will make a second rehab start on May 5 (location: TBD). If that goes well, he will make his return to the Pirates’ rotation on May 10.
  • That means that the Pirates will need to plug his spot in the rotation one more time. Burres is the most likely candidate to get that final spot start, though the Pirates haven’t written his name in pen yet.
  • Speaking of Triple-A starters, Brad Lincoln had a rocky outing with Indianapolis on Friday. He allowed six earned runs on seven hits in six innings against Pawtucket. He walked four and struck out three.
  • For those who didn’t stay up late last night, Evan Meek recorded his first Major League save on Thursday. Now, that does not mean the Pirates have a closer controversy going on. It was predetermined that Octavio Dotel would have the night off (he pitched two innings the day before), and Meek was simply the freshest arm. That said, you have to like what you saw from Meek in a 1-2-3 inning. He sure does seem to possess the skills — physically and mentally — to be a closer down the road.
  • Aki Iwamura is back in the leadoff spot after sitting with a cold on Thursday. He is 6-for-39 in his last 10 games.
  • Manager John Russell called it “just a day off” for left fielder Lastings Milledge on Friday. Russell has made it a point to keep his bench players active, especially Ryan Church. Russell noted he liked the matchup with Church against Chad Billingsley, though Church is just 2-for-14 against the right-hander. Church has had success at Dodger Stadium, however. Here he is 24-for-62 lifetime.
  • The Pirates’ shutout last night was their first at Dodger Stadium since 9/5/2000 when Jose Silva, Rich Loiselle and Marc Wilkins combined for one.
  • Though the Pirates have endured their share of blowout losses this season, the club is 7-1 in games decided by two runs or less. They’re 8-0 when leading after four innings, which is another sign of how dependant they are on decent starting pitching.
  • If the Pirates can win on Friday, it would mark the team’s first four-game road winning streak since 2007.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Church (LF)
  6. Ryan Doumit (C)
  7. Jeff Clement (1B)
  8. Charlie Morton (RHP)
  9. Bobby Crosby (SS)

Dodgers lineup:

  1. Xavier Paul (LF)
  2. Russell Martin (C)
  3. Andre Ethier (RF)
  4. Matt Kemp (CF)
  5. James Loney (1B)
  6. Casey Blake (3B)
  7. Blake DeWitt (2B)
  8. Jamey Carroll (SS)
  9. Chad Billingsley (RHP)

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April 26: Pirates (7-11) @ Brewers (8-10)

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

What a weird game this can be sometimes.

The Pirates go from a thrilling three-game sweep of the Reds to dropping six straight and possibly counting…

The Brewers outscored the Pirates, 36-1, in a three-game series last week, only to then be outscored 25-4 by the Cubs over the next three days…

The Astros have won eight of their last 10 after losing eight straight to open the season. The Cubs have moved up to second place after starting 6-10…

Amazing what can happen in one week. And this is just in the NL Central.

Here’s what’s happening in the clubhouse…

  • Not in Pittsburgh anymore“: That’s the headline on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s sports page today. And it found its way onto the bulletin board in the visiting clubhouse. The headline, obviously, was in reference to the Brewers getting outscored 25-4 by the Cubs after they took it to the Pirates last week. And the Pirates were not amused.
  • I’m sure no one needs a reminder, but the Pirates have lost their last 21 games here. That’s the longest home winning streak by one team over another since the Indians beat the Browns/Orioles 27 straight times from 1952-54.
  • The Pirates will name a starter for Tuesday’s game after tonight’s affair. Likely candidate is Jeff Karstens, who has been stretched out in Triple-A for this purpose.
  • Thursday’s starting slot is still TBD and likely will be through Wednesday. Much will depend on whether Brian Burres and Brian Bass will be fresh and able to make the spot start. If the Pirates have no choice but to use both in relief in the next few days, it’s back to Triple-A to find a spot starter — possibly Kevin Hart? Hart is scheduled to pitch next in Indy on Wednesday.
  • Ross Ohlendorf is scheduled to throw one more side session on Tuesday and then will make his first rehab start on Friday in extended Spring Training. He’ll go there so the Pirates have more control over his pitch/innings count. After that, Ohlendorf will be in line for one more rehab start (either with Double-A Altoona or Single-A Bradenton) before he’ll be ready to return.
  • Spent some time talking with Chris Jakubauskas, who is in exceptional spirits considering what happened to him 48 hours ago. Jaku said he had no issues on the plane ride up from Houston, though he is still groggy and dealing with headaches periodically. He was scheduled to have some memory tests done today. The hardest thing right now? He’s not able to get a good night’s sleep. Jaku has to be woken up every few hours to answer questions (it’s a consequence of having a concussion) and so sleep has come only in small chunks. He said he’s watched the replay of the incident a few times but that he thinks he’s now done viewing it for good.
  • Manager John Russell had a little lineup shuffle in store for the club today. For the first time this season, Andrew McCutchen is hitting leadoff. Obviously, he is no stranger to that spot in the order, having hit there last season.
  • McCutchen moving up was the result of Russell wanting Aki Iwamura to move down. Iwamura has just two hits in his last 27 at-bats and has not been working the count as well as he was earlier in the season. He’ll hit seventh on Monday.
  • Just another day off for Lastings Milledge, as Russell opted to go with the left-handed hitting Ryan Church against right-hander Yovani Gallardo.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Ryan Church (LF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Jeff Clement (1B)
  7. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  8. Zach Duke (LHP)
  9. Ronny Cedeno (SS)

Brewers lineup:

  1. Rickie Weeks (2B)
  2. Carlos Gomez (CF)
  3. Ryan Braun (LF)
  4. Prince Fielder (1B)
  5. Casey McGehee (3B)
  6. Corey Hart (RF)
  7. Gregg Zaun (C)
  8. Alcides Escobar (SS)
  9. Yovani Gallardo (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Jakubauskas likely on way up

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Right-hander Chris Jakubauskas was pulled from his scheduled start for Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday, an obvious sign that he is about to join up with the big-league club in Houston.

The Pirates have not made an official announcement, but Jakubauskas is likely to be recalled on Friday. That would give the club the option of using him in long relief on Friday, which could be necessary given how many innings the team’s bullpen has logged in recent days.

If Pittsburgh can avoid calling on Jakubauskas in the first game of its series against the Astros – which is certainly the team’s preference – he’ll likely take the mound on Saturday. The Pirates were in need of a spot starter for the game, and Jakubauskas was one of three Triple-A starters being considered.

Jakubauskas has made two starts for Indianapolis this season and has lost both. In a combined 10 innings, he has allowed five runs on 10 hits and four walks. Jakubauskas does have Major League experience, all of that coming last season with the Mariners. In 35 appearances (eight starts) with Seattle last year, he went 6-7 with a 5.32 ERA.

Jeff Karstens replaced Jakubauskas to make the start in Indianapolis on Thursday.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

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