HOUSTON -- Andrew McCutchen's ninth-inning home run on Tuesday was his 20th, making the Pirates center fielder the eighth player in team history to have at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season.
"It's a special feat. It's a special feat in any era," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "The game is cycling back to speed. The home runs are not the multitude and magnitude they used to be. It speaks to his skill set."
The 24-year-old McCutchen is the first Pirate to join the 20-20 club since Nate McLouth in 2008.
"It's good to have that," said McCutchen, who leads the team with 20 stolen bases. "Definitely a stepping stone for me. Still got a lot of ball to play, so still going to continue to keep going out there and playing harder. Try to finish strong."
A first-round selection (11th overall) by the Pirates in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, McCutchen is in his second full season in the Majors and made his first All-Star team this year.
"I just play," said McCutchen, who homered in the first two games of the three-game series with Houston. "I let the game take care of itself. As long as I go out there and do what I need to do. I'm not trying to set up a goal, I stay within myself."
Pirates trade Diaz, Bowker on Wednesday
HOUSTON -- The Pirates made a couple of trades on Wednesday, with outfielder Matt Diaz returning to the Braves and Triple-A outfielder John Bowker headed to the Phillies.
The Pirates had only 24 players for Wednesday night's game against Houston.
Diaz was traded in exchange for a player to be named or cash considerations. Diaz, 33, was signed as a free agent on Dec. 14 and hit .259 (56-for-216) with 12 doubles and 19 RBIs in 100 games with Pittsburgh this season. He played the previous five seasons (2006-10) for the Braves, who have a commanding lead in the National League Wild Card race.
"It was a winning opportunity for both sides," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "He's excited and we're excited for him. He said he wished he had done better."
Bowker, who made the Pirates' Opening Day roster, also was exchanged for a player to be named or cash considerations.
Bowker, 28, hit .235 (4-for-17) with two RBIs in 19 games with the Pirates before being designated for assignment on April 28. In 106 games with Triple-A Indianapolis, Bowker hit .306 (129-for-421) with 27 doubles, 15 home runs and 76 RBIs. His home run and RBI totals led the team.
Wrist better, so Tabata back in the lineup
HOUSTON -- After missing Tuesday's game because of tenderness in his left wrist, Jose Tabata was back in the lineup on Wednesday, batting leadoff and playing right field.
"He was really encouraged when he found out there were no signs of any issues," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "It's more of a sprain that anything else. He came in yesterday. It was a little swollen, a little tight. He was more worried than anything else. Once the tests were taken, it showed no issues."
Tabata first experienced the tenderness against the Brewers on Aug. 24. He played in Monday's game against the Astros. After the swelling went down, Tabata hit in the batting cage early in Tuesday's game and felt good.
"He felt real good at the end of the night last night and felt good today when I talked to him, so he's back in play," said Hurdle.
Bell to finish season with State College
HOUSTON -- Switch-hitting Josh Bell, the second-round pick of the Pirates in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, will be in uniform for the Class A State College Spikes' final five games of the season, including the Spikes' final two games Wednesday and Thursday at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Bell hit .548 with 13 home runs, 54 RBIs and 54 runs as a senior at Dallas Jesuit (Texas) High School, where he helped lead the team to the Class 5A regional semifinals.
Before being selected by the Pirates, Bell was rated by Baseball America as the top corner outfielder and fifth-best position player overall in this year's draft. Bell, who was the 2010-11 Gatorade/ESPN Rise Texas Baseball Player of the Year, turned down a baseball scholarship to the University of Texas.
The Pirates signed Bell for $5 million. The bonus is the largest ever for a player picked outside of the first round.
Bell joins seven players from the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Pirates who will make the journey to State College on Wednesday. The others are pitchers Cesar Lopez, Diomedes Mateo and Logan Pevny, infielder Alen Hanson and outfielders Willy Garcia, Jose Osuna and Gregory Polanco.
Friday's starting pitcher at Chicago is still to be determined. Right-hander Jeff Karstens, who was in line to start on Friday before right shoulder fatigue forced him to skip a start, still is not throwing.
First baseman Derrek Lee, on the 15-day disabled list with a fractured bone in his left wrist, swung the bat off live pitching for the first time since the injury on Aug. 15 and is another step closer to returning to the Pirates.
Right-handed reliever Evan Meek, who had right shoulder tendinitis that caused him to go on the disabled list, allowed one run on three hits -- including a broken-bat double and a ground-ball double down the line -- in one inning on Tuesday night for Triple-A Indianapolis against Toledo in a rehab assignment. Meek's fastball was in the 90-93 mph range.
The uniforms worn Wednesday night by starting pitcher James McDonald as well as Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen, Joel Hanrahan and Garrett Jones will be authenticated by Major League Baseball following the game and shipped to TOPPS baseball card company. The jerseys will then be cut into pieces as inserts for baseball cards.
Thursday's game against the Dodgers will be the fifth makeup game in the 11 years of play at PNC Park.
Richard Dean is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.