PITTSBURGH -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle kept Ronny Cedeno out of the lineup on Wednesday and described his reasoning for doing so as "a manager's decision.""I'll leave it at that," Hurdle added. Though Hurdle did not explicitly say as much, it was evident that his decision had something to do with Cedeno's decision not to run out a ground ball in the ninth inning of Tuesday's loss. After entering the game as a seventh-inning pinch-runner, Cedeno hit a grounder down the third-base line that he seemed to think was foul. Rather than running toward first, Cedeno stopped a few feet from home and looked at home plate umpire Alan Porter. In the meantime, Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval picked up the ball -- which Porter ruled fair -- and threw Cedeno out to end the inning. Hurdle was asked on Wednesday if he knew why Cedeno didn't run out the grounder. "No, I don't understand," said Hurdle, who opted to start Brandon Wood at short on Wednesday. "I talked to Ronny about it. He needs to run. All our players understand this. It's late in the game -- you have to run a ball out. Your job is to play. It's not to umpire. Ronny understands it. He made a bad decision." This isn't the first time that a manager has sent a message to Cedeno by benching him. He spent time out of the lineup last June when then-manager John Russell became frustrated with Cedeno's inconsistencies and tendency to let his emotions affects his on-field play.
Impending move ends Bowker's Bucs tenure
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates will officially designate John Bowker for assignment on Thursday in order to make room on the 25-man roster for Xavier Paul. Though the club has not made the move official yet, Bowker was told after Wednesday's 2-0 win over the Giants that he was the odd man out.Bowker is out of options, meaning that he would have to clear waivers in order to remain with the organization. But the outfielder made it clear on Wednesday that his preference would be to go elsewhere, either through a waiver claim or trade. "I felt like I did a good job coming off the bench," Bowker said. "But obviously I wasn't in their plans. I'll hopefully get picked up." Bowker had four hits in 17 at-bats this year. He never started a game. The left-handed-hitting outfielder was acquired by the club last summer in a Trade Deadline deal with the Giants. He came up in September, made 19 starts and batted .232 in 69 at-bats. He was asked before leaving the clubhouse on Wednesday if he had expected to get more playing time when he arrived in Pittsburgh. "I don't really want to go into that right now," Bowker said. Paul arrived at PNC Park minutes after the conclusion of Wednesday's game. He will be in uniform for Thursday's series finale.
Top pick Taillon makes professional debut
PITTSBURGH -- Jameson Taillon's professional debut lasted two innings on Wednesday night. Rain kept the right-hander from pitching any deeper in his first start as a member of the low-Class A West Virginia rotation.Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, allowed a single to the first Hagerstown batter he faced. He gave up two walks -- including one to Bryce Harper, the only player picked ahead of Taillon last summer -- and an RBI double before escaping the inning by inducing a double play with the bases loaded. Hagerstown scored just once in the frame. "I was amped up," Taillon told West Virginia's radio broadcaster. "To be honest, [I was] probably a little over-amped. It was good to get it out of the way. I didn't have my best delivery, best stuff but [I] battled through it."
Taillon surrendered a leadoff single in the second before retiring the next three hitters. With rain on its way, the Pirates decided at that point that the second would be Taillon's final inning of work. As it turned out, that rain came in the bottom of the second. The game was eventually suspended."It was interesting conditions. I faced a little adversity for the first time -- that's alright with me," Taillon said. "It wasn't ideal. That second inning, especially, it was real wet. It was tough to really get down the mound just because of how slushy it was."
"He battled through some poor weather conditions and grinded through it," said director of player development Kyle Stark, who was on hand for the game. "He made a couple pitches when he needed to. Ultimately, he got through it. He's also 19 and has a lot of development ahead of him."Taillon joined West Virginia after making a handful of appearances in extended spring training earlier this month. He will now be a regular part of West Virginia's rotation.
Pirates' eighth-inning-setup options increase
PITTSBURGH -- Of all the things that were in flux during Spring Training, the Pirates established one absolute early. If the Pirates were ahead late, Evan Meek would pitch the eighth and Joel Hanrahan the ninth.That's not so definitive anymore, given Meek's slow start and some strong ones from some other Pirates relievers -- most notably, Chris Resop. While the Pirates are not yanking Meek from the setup role altogether, the club has had conversations about what the best eighth-inning option might be until Meek is able to fully shake an illness and get his arm back feeling like it did last year. "It's something we're talking about internally," manager Clint Hurdle said. "I've been in communication and conversation with Evan about everything -- about his health, about his ability to bounce back, those type of things." While Meek doesn't expect to lose the stranglehold of the setup job permanently, he seemed understanding to the possibility of splitting eighth-inning duties in the short term. "If [Hurdle] feels he needs to put somebody else in the eighth, just for the time being, that's what he's got to do," Meek said. "It's not going to have any effect on me because I understand it's for the team. You can't be upset about that. All you can do is work through it. I know Clint has faith in me. I know he knows I'm not 100 percent. He knows I'm working. He's going to make the decision that's best for the ballclub. When I'm healthy and he knows it, he's not going to have any hesitation." Though Meek allowed hits to both the batters he faced in Tuesday's game, there have been signs that he is slowly getting back on track. The right-hander had strung together seven scoreless appearances leading up to Tuesday's hiccup. He appears on the uphill with his health, too, after dealing with a virus since the first week of the season. In addition to Resop, Jose Veras and Joe Beimel would be two other experienced relievers Hurdle could turn to in an eighth-inning hold situation.
Pirates prospect Morris out two more weeks
PITTSBURGH -- Pirates Minor League right-hander Bryan Morris is expected to miss at least two more weeks due to a left abdominal oblique strain that he suffered in his April 18 start.Morris hasn't pitched since that four-inning outing, which was his third of the season. His exact timetable for a return is uncertain, though oblique strains can linger depending on their severity. Ranked by MLB.com as the club's No. 5 prospect entering 2011, Morris began the year back in Double-A, which is where he made his final 19 appearances last season. He allowed two earned runs in his first two starts combined (10 1/3 innings) and then gave up three more before sustaining the oblique injury. Morris has walked nine and struck out nine in 14 1/3 total innings. Morris, 24, was a candidate to move quickly to Triple-A this season, assuming the progress he made last year was sustained. Of the four players the Pirates received in the 2008 Jason Bay trade, Morris is the only one still in the organization.
Pirates first baseman Lyle Overbay was kept out of the starting lineup for the second time in three days on Wednesday. The move was made, manager Clint Hurdle said, to give Overbay some additional time to work through some mechanical issues with his swing. Steve Pearce made the start in Overbay's place. The Rockies had their game against the Cubs rained out on Wednesday, which prompted Colorado to make changes to its pitching rotation for the Pirates' upcoming visit. The Rockies will now send Jhoulys Chacin to the mound on Friday. Jason Hammel and Ubaldo Jimenez will pitch the final two games. Prospect Starling Marte had his 13-game hitting streak and 15-game on-base streak come to an end on Tuesday. The Double-A outfielder finished 0-for-4 in Altoona's loss.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.