Notes: Torres not 'sweating' struggles
Closer has allowed runs in five of last seven apperances
PITTSBURGH -- Pirates closer Salomon Torres has been struggling in that role of late. But he can take some solace in the fact that he is not alone.
Some high-profile closers, such as the Yankees' Mariano Rivera and Minnesota's Joe Nathan, have had problems. Several teams have already had big shakeups in their bullpens. The preseason closers for the Astros, Marlins and Royals are all currently out of jobs for a variety of reasons.
"It's always been that way," Torres said. "But I'm not sweating at all. I know what I'm doing wrong. Sometimes I try to trick people instead of, 'Here's my best stuff, hit it if you can and if you hit it I'll tip my hat.' Sometimes you get caught up in a situation when you try to fix something, and it's not even broke. That's when you get in trouble."
The Pirates aren't about to make Torres walk the plank just yet.
"We'll do what's necessary to win the game," manager Jim Tracy said. "But to suggest I'm taking something away from him, I'm not doing that, not right now. He'll stand up to this. He'll get it straightened out."
Torres, 35, has been scored upon in five of his last seven appearances, and the right-hander squandered a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning of Wednesday's game against Houston by giving up two runs.
Torres converted his first four save opportunities, but he has since blown three of five -- and that doesn't include Thursday's outing that elevated his ERA to 7.20.
"Thursday was a wake-up call," Torres said. "It was embarrassing, and I was all over the place. It's not because I'm wild. I'm not usually wild, but sometimes when your mind is not in the right place, that's when you have problems."
Tracy wants Torres to return to the form he had late last season, when the veteran recorded 12 saves in September and October.
"He has to get back to being that guy," Tracy said. "For five weeks last year, he went after guys and he got ahead of guys. When [the pitch count] goes to 2-0 or 2-1 or 3-1, they won't bite.
Robinson tribute: The entire Pirates team wore jersey No. 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson during Friday night's game against the Reds.
Major League Baseball held "Jackie Robinson Day" on April 15, the 60th anniversary of Robinson breaking baseball's color barrier. The Pirates were one of five home teams that were rained out that day, and Pittsburgh's planned pregame ceremony was postponed until Friday night. The Pirates will be the fifth club to have all players wear the number, joining the Dodgers, Cardinals, Phillies and Astros.
Pirates first base coach John Shelby played for four years with the Dodgers (1987-1990) and was their first-base coach for eight seasons (1998-2005). He has a special feeling about honoring Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers legend.
"Since I heard about it -- it's been a real special day, one that I've really looked forward to," Shelby said. "Being an ex-member of the Dodgers and playing in the organization, not only as a player but also as a coach, it meant a lot. [Robinson's] impact meant a lot, and it also allowed me and a lot of other players to play this game. I'm thankful for what he did and the sacrifice that he made."
Nady update: Pirates right fielder Xavier Nady remains day-to-day with a strained left hamstring.
"My understanding is we're not looking at several more days with him," Tracy said. "We'll just continue to take it a day at a time and see where he gets to. What we don't want to do is put him in there too soon and have to sit there and worry about each and every step that he takes and run the risk of this becoming more serious. We're progressing."
Nady is available for pinch-hitting duty.
Minor matters: Triple-A Indianapolis outfielder Nyjer Morgan is off to an outstanding start. The 26-year-old entered Friday atop the International League in hitting with a .371 (23-for-62) average through 17 games. Teammate Ryan Doumit was leading the IL in hitting, but was called up to the Pirates on Thursday. Morgan also leads the IL in stolen bases with 13. He swiped 59 bases last season.
"You don't hear about [stealing bases] too much anymore," Morgan said. "Yeah, you see it in the box score, but other than that, you really don't hear a lot about playing small ball anymore. Everyone is looking for the big bombs. To me, it's not about the big bombs. That's not what I'm about. I'm about making things happen when I get on base."
A left-handed-hitting leadoff man, Morgan was Pittsburgh's 33rd-round selection in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft out of Walla Walla (Wash.) Community College. Since then, Morgan has gradually climbed through the Pirates farm system and earned a spot on the club's 40-man roster this winter.
On deck: The Pirates face the Reds in the second game of the three-game series on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Lefty Tom Gorzelanny (3-0, 2.05) will face Reds right-hander Matt Belisle (2-1, 4.33).
George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.