DENVER -- Citing stiffness in his right shoulder, Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen elected to sit out of Thursday's 9-3 loss to the Rockies for precautionary reasons. He was scratched from the starting lineup just over an hour before first pitch.
In Wednesday's 6-2 win, McCutchen re-aggravated a shoulder injury when he nailed his shoulder against the outfield wall to make the catch. After being attended to by trainers, McCutchen remained in the game and ended up playing all nine innings. However, when McCutchen tested out his shoulder in the batting cage Thursday morning, he felt too much stiffness to continue.
"There was no pain. It was just stiff," he said. "I figured it might loosen up, but it didn't want to loosen up. It's still not 100 percent yet. I'll show up [Friday] and see how it feels."
McCutchen missed six games last week with a sprained right AC joint, though he is optimistic that this latest setback won't cost him that much time. He is listed as day-to-day and will be reevaluated prior to Friday's game in St. Louis.
Jose Tabata replaced McCutchen in center and atop the batting order. The rookie outfielder finished 2-for-4 and scored two of the Pirates' three runs.
Ohlendorf optimistic about making next start
DENVER -- Well aware of how lucky he was not to be seriously injured after a scary incident in the Bucs' 6-2 win over the Rockies on Wednesday, Ross Ohlendorf reported feeling "really good" shortly after arriving at Coors Field on Thursday.
The Pirates' medical staff monitored Ohlendorf every two hours overnight to make sure that he didn't show any concussion-like symptoms after being struck in the head by Troy Tulowitzki's line drive. All tests have come back negative, fueling optimism that the right-hander will take the mound as scheduled Monday.
"We're hoping that he should be able to make his next start," manager John Russell said. "[He's] very lucky, very lucky."
Ohlendorf will continue to be monitored over the next few days and said he hopes to be cleared to resume full activities before the weekend.
The Pirates are already planning on calling up a Triple-A pitcher to start on Saturday, so the club is certainly relieved that it likely won't have to find a spot starter for Ohlendorf as well.
Gallagher helps pick up the slack for 'pen
DENVER -- Despite having to call on relievers to cover 8 1/3 innings of Wednesday's 6-2 win over the Rockies, the Pirates entered Thursday's series finale in fairly good shape with the bullpen. Manager John Russell avoided using Evan Meek and Steven Jackson, and four of the six relievers that did pitch only tossed an inning.
It certainly helped that Pittsburgh played this series with an eight-man 'pen as compared to the usual seven. But as integral as anyone in helping the Pirates not be set back for days was Sean Gallagher, who responded with three scoreless innings after entering the game upon Ross Ohlendorf's unexpected injury departure.
"If [Gallagher] goes out and struggles, it's a different night," Russell said. "The key to those games is the first guy has to come in and give you some innings."
The outing was a step forward personally for Gallagher, who had not only struggled against the Rockies all year, but who had not been exceptionally sharp since being acquired by the Pirates earlier this month.
He entered Wednesday's game on the heels of an appearance where he allowed four runs (three earned) on one hit and two walks without retiring a batter.
"I felt like I had a better idea of where everything was going to end up," Gallagher said. "My other outings, it was more, 'Who knows?'" I felt a lot better with my command, and obviously, I think it showed a little bit."
"I think he's starting to get a rhythm and starting to get his comfort level back of being on the mound," Russell added. "He spotted the ball very well and used his offspeed [pitches]. We've seen signs of it. I think just getting more work is going to be big for him."
Gallagher, who threw 57 pitches Wednesday, was the only Pittsburgh reliever not available Thursday.
Iwamura likely fine after Triple-A collision
DENVER -- Second baseman Aki Iwamura was sent to the hospital during Pirates Triple-A affiliate Indianapolis' 7-5 win against Syracuse on Wednesday after being involved in a violent collision at first base. Iwamura ran into Syracuse second baseman Chase Lambin, who was covering the bag, in the first inning.
Iwamura came out of the game immediately. Chest X-rays and a CT scan he had done at the hospital came back negative, director of player development Kyle Stark said. The organization is hopeful Iwamura will be cleared to resume light activities at the ballpark on Thursday.
"We believe that Aki should be fine," Stark said. "He had a good night's sleep and feels better."
Iwamura began the season as the Pirates' everyday second baseman before being supplanted by Neil Walker and eventually sent down to Triple-A in June. Since joining Indianapolis, Iwamura has hit .299 with 12 RBIs in 27 games.
Indianapolis' win Wednesday was keyed by a grand slam from outfielder Brandon Moss. The home run was Moss' 17th of the season. He ranks second in the International League with 70 RBIs.
The Pirates officially have released Brendan Donnelly, who was designated for assignment on Sunday. The club tried to trade the right-hander but got no takers. The Pirates will be responsible for the remainder of Donnelly's $1.35 million salary, though if a team signs Donnelly for the remainder of the season, that club would pay a prorated portion of the Major League minimum salary. ... Right-hander Craig Hansen has been added to the Class A Bradenton roster. Hansen, who was one of four players acquired for Jason Bay, hasn't pitched since April 2009. He has been recovering from an inflamed nerve near his neck. ... With Wil Ledezma's appearance on Wednesday, the Pirates have now used 23 pitchers this season. They've never used more than 26 (2008) in one year.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.