Hart undergoes successful surgery
Right-hander expected to be ready by Spring Training
PITTSBURGH -- Pirates right-hander Kevin Hart underwent successful surgery on Tuesday to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. The procedure was performed by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.
"Dr. Andrews was pleased with the results of the surgery and noted that the rest of Kevin's shoulder was sound," general manager Neal Huntington said.
There is approximately a nine-month recovery period for this type of surgery, which has the Pirates optimistic that Hart will be healthy by the start of Spring Training next February. He will head to Bradenton, Fla., soon to start the rehabilitation process.
Tuesday's surgery brings an end to a frustrating and disappointing 2010 season for Hart, who came into camp this spring with the upper hand at winning the fifth spot in Pittsburgh's rotation. He pitched his way out of that job and then allowed 13 earned runs on 18 hits in 17 1/3 innings with Triple-A Indianapolis in April.
McCutchen out of Pirates' lineup Tuesday
PITTSBURGH -- With his right ankle still tender, Andrew McCutchen was out of the Pirates' starting lineup on Tuesday for the first time this season.
McCutchen suffered a mild ankle sprain on Sunday, when he stepped awkwardly on the foot of Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who was covering first base. McCutchen remained in the game for three more innings following the incident before coming out for precautionary reasons.
McCutchen tested the ankle on Tuesday with agility and running drills, but he still felt a hint of discomfort. It was enough for the center fielder to decide to wait at least one more day before returning to the field.
"Everything went well," McCutchen said. "I just told them it's a tad tender. It's miniscule, but I can feel it. They just want to make sure I don't pull it at all. I don't want to make it any worse."
McCutchen will be available to pinch-hit if necessary on Tuesday since the ankle does not affect his swing or ability to plant his foot in the batter's box. McCutchen said he remains optimistic that he'll return to the outfield before the end of the series against the Cubs.
"Watching him run here today, he's moving fairly well," general manager Neal Huntington said. "Obviously, we want to be conservative and get it time to heal, with running being such a big part of his game. We don't want to let this linger for a long time."
Ryan Church is expected to play center for as long as McCutchen may be out.
Donnelly placed on 15-day DL
PITTSBURGH -- Pirates reliever Brendan Donnelly has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left oblique strain, which he suffered while throwing his final pitch in an April 27 outing.
Donnelly has not pitched since, which allows Pittsburgh to make his DL stint retroactive to April 28. Both he and manager John Russell seemed optimistic that Donnelly would be able to return as soon as he is eligible on May 13.
Though Donnelly was hopeful that he could avoid the DL, the move was made largely so the Pirates could call up Steve Pearce. With Andrew McCutchen banged up, the club needed the extra position player immediately.
"We needed to make a move. I understand," said Donnelly, who had made 11 appearances before the injury. "I think that, if anything, it's going to protect me against me trying to come back too fast. It's not a major thing. I fully expect to be ready to go on the 13th."
Donnelly had pitched primarily in a setup role this season, though Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan are expected to assume that role in the right-hander's absence. Even with Donnelly sidelined, the Pirates still have seven relievers available. Brian Bass, who was the eighth man in the bullpen, was expected to be sent down this week, but will now remain with the club during Donnelly's absence.
Pirates recall Pearce from Triple-A
PITTSBURGH -- Needing to add another offensive weapon, the Pirates have recalled first baseman/outfielder Steve Pearce from Triple-A Indianapolis. The addition of Pearce shifts the Pirates back to a traditional 12-man pitching staff and five-player bench.
Pearce has certainly earned another chance at proving he's Major League-ready after dominating Triple-A in April. In 23 games with Indianapolis, Pearce hit .347 with 16 extra-base hits and eight RBIs. He reached base safely in all but two games.
The key to the early-season success, as Pearce explained it, was simply adjusting his approach. The Pirates didn't want to sap Pearce of his aggressiveness, but during Spring Training, he was pulled aside and encouraged to extend his at-bats longer to see more pitches. He listened, and the change has paid off.
"Last year I would try to create something to earn a spot and I just created a hole," Pearce said on Tuesday. "I took the approach I started at Spring Training into the regular season and it seemed to work. If you stay patient against a pitcher, he is going to make a mistake. I think the transition [to the Majors] will be a lot better because I think I have matured."
Pearce is no stranger to Pittsburgh, having spent parts of the past three seasons with the big league club. To this point, though, Pearce has struggled to emulate his Minor League results here. In 342 Major League at-bats, Pearce has batted just .237. The fact that he's hit just eight home runs has been of some concern, too, given that Pearce has always been a power threat in the Minors.
"I need to prove myself," said Pearce, 27. "They haven't seen the real Steve Pearce here because I haven't had a good approach or been an everyday player up here. They haven't really seen my full game yet. Maybe I can push myself into a starting role if I can continue to play the way I've been playing and stick with my approach."
The Pirates weren't overly forthcoming on how much playing time Pearce can expect, though he won't be used solely off the bench. Manager John Russell said that the right-handed-hitting Pearce will likely get the start on Wednesday against a left-handed starter, which could suggest that a platoon situation might develop with first baseman Jeff Clement, who bats left-handed and has struggled to this point.
"We've used our bench pretty openly this year and I don't expect that to change," Russell said. "We're looking for a spark offensively. He's been swinging the bat well."
"He's going to get some at-bats while he's up here and we'll see how it goes," added general manager Neal Huntington.
Bucs return Rule 5 pick Raynor to Marlins
PITTSBURGH -- Unable to work out a trade with the Marlins, the Pirates have returned Rule 5 pick John Raynor to Florida. The Marlins paid Pittsburgh $25,000 in order to complete the transaction.
Raynor began the season on the Pirates' roster and made his Major League debut on April 8. Though Raynor was not necessarily seen as Major League-ready, the Pirates had hoped to be able to hide him on the bench this season in order to keep him in the organization.
However, with the club's early-season pitching problems, the Pirates were forced to take Raynor off the 25-man roster last week to give his spot to a pitcher. Raynor cleared waivers, but Pittsburgh's attempt to complete a trade to keep the outfielder proved fruitless.
"We wanted to try to keep John in the organization," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We see the upside there. Florida was intent on getting good value for him. We worked through the process, weren't able to come to an agreement and unfortunately had to send John back."
In all, Raynor had 10 at-bats with the Pirates in April. He finished with two infield hits and a run scored.
Pirates take fielding practice before game
The entire Pirates team took the field an hour before batting practice on Tuesday and spent the time running through a gamut of fielding drills.
Manager John Russell has called similar team-wide workouts before, though he made it clear on Tuesday that the club's recent 3-7 road trip highlighted some issues that needed to be shored up. The team worked on alignment, pickoffs, cutoffs, fielding practice and bunting, among other things. It was a session reminiscent of Spring Training, when such drills are a part of the daily routine.
"We've got a lot of work to do," Russell said afterward. "We identified a lot of things we need to tighten up. It's not punishment, but it's work. We need to work on some things, get sharper on some things."
Though the Pirates worked primarily on defensive fundamentals on Tuesday, it was the club's lack of offense that was the most notable issue during the second half of the road trip. The Pirates scored just eight runs in a four-game series against the Dodgers, and the club's batting average has dropped to a National League-worst .234.
"We can get runners [on], but then, honestly, I feel like we do too much," general manager Neal Huntington said. "Instead of having another quality plate appearance, we have guys trying to hit a nine-run home run and do it all themselves -- they know that we've been struggling -- instead of just relaxing and putting together another good plate appearance.
"It's time to take a deep breath, relax, and let their abilities play."
Ross Ohlendorf will make his second Minor League rehab start with Double-A Altoona on Wednesday. Ohlendorf threw 43 pitches in an extended Spring Training game on Friday. Wednesday's start is expected to be Ohlendorf's last before he rejoins the big league club and faces the Reds on March 10. ... The Pirates announced on Tuesday that lefty Brian Burres will make the spot start for the club on Thursday. This should be the last time that the Pirates have to piece together their rotation to compensate for Ohlendorf's absence. ... Right-hander Chris Jakubauskas, who was struck in the head by a line drive on April 24, resumed light exercises on Monday. He still has not been cleared to return to baseball activities, though Jakubauskas said his headaches and dizziness are gone. ... Octavio Dotel was beaming on Tuesday as he announced the birth of his first child. Eduardo Dotel was born in Pittsburgh on Sunday. Both Eduardo and Dotel's wife, Massiel, are doing well.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.