CHICAGO -- With one swing on Saturday, Derrek Lee served up quite a reminder of the instant impact his bat can have in the middle of the Pirates' order. That impact, though, doesn't end with Lee's ability to change a game with one swing.
In fact, Andrew McCutchen could be the biggest benefactor of Lee's presence.
With Lee hitting cleanup, manager Clint Hurdle has the flexibility to slot McCutchen into the No. 3 hole, which is a spot that Hurdle has said he feels could be the ideal long-term fit for McCutchen. The problem with hitting McCutchen third earlier in the year was that there was often a lack of protection behind him.
McCutchen should now reap the benefits of Lee's presence for the rest of this month -- and potentially longer. The Pirates have indicated an interest in trying to re-sign Lee this offseason.
"Having a guy like that hitting behind you, they're going to want to throw to [me] because they don't want to have me on base and then have to pitch to a guy like Derrek Lee with what he's capable of doing," McCutchen said. "It helps them not to pitch around me."
After missing almost a month with a fractured left wrist, Lee returned from the disabled list on Saturday, and finished with three hits and five RBIs in the Pirates' 7-5 win. His two-out, ninth-inning grand slam was Lee's seventh grand slam at Wrigley Field. That ranks Lee second in the ballpark's history behind Ernie Banks, who hit eight grand slams.
Karstens to miss next start
CHICAGO -- Jeff Karstens said on Sunday that he will miss another turn in the rotation, meaning that the right-hander will not take the mound for his next scheduled start on Wednesday.
"There's no reason to rush it," said Karstens, who has been battling recent arm soreness and fatigue. "I am going to build up some strength so I can finish strong."
Brian Burres took Karstens' spot in the rotation on Friday, and would be pitching on regular rest if called upon to start against the Astros on Wednesday. Left-hander Aaron Thompson would not be a candidate to earn the spot start, since he is starting for Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday.
Because manager Clint Hurdle has not officially ruled Karstens out for Wednesday, he has not named a replacement starter.
Karstens played long toss on Saturday and reported feeling fine after the session. He said he wants to throw at least two bullpen sessions so that he's strong enough to make two or three starts to end the season.
Karstens watched his season ERA jump to 3.32 after allowing 21 earned runs in 25 1/3 August innings. He averaged just five innings per start last month, after lasting at least six innings in 10 of his previous 11 outings.
Pirates recall Ciriaco from Triple-A
CHICAGO -- For the sixth different time this season, the Pirates have summoned infielder Pedro Ciriaco from Triple-A Indianapolis to join the big league club. The good news for Ciriaco this time is that, with the Minor League season two days away from ending, he won't go back down.
By being on the team's 40-man roster, Ciriaco has been the easy callup when the Pirates have needed to add an infielder at various times this year. But because of where he lies on the depth chart, Ciriaco has also been the first sent down when other infielders have come off the Major League disabled list.
Most of Ciriaco's time with the Pirates has been spent on the bench. He has appeared in only 11 games, and had just 12 at-bats. But he has still managed to make an impression through how he's handled the fluidity of his roster status.
"Every time he has gone down, he's gone down with intent and focus -- and with specific attention to detail," manager Clint Hurdle said. "And every time he's come back, he's been a little bit better. I'm very proud of the way he's handled this professionally. It's smart on his part to go down and put the attention and focus in, because it's paid him some benefits and some rewards."
Ciriaco was the only member of Indianapolis' club to join the Pirates in Chicago on Sunday. More September callups will be made, though those won't come until after Indianapolis' season ends on Monday.
On his radio show on Sunday, general manager Neal Huntington said that infielder Matt Hague and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez will not be among those called up.
Outfielder Ryan Ludwick went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored in Triple-A Indianapolis' win on Saturday. Ludwick will play two more rehab games with Indianapolis before being activated from the disabled list on Wednesday.
Despite defeating Louisville, 8-7, on Saturday, Indianapolis was eliminated from playoff contention because Lehigh Valley also won. Indianapolis will finish the year second in the International League's West division. The club currently has an 75-67 record.
Outfield prospect Starling Marte extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a three-hit game in Double-A Altoona's loss on Saturday. Marte had three three-hit games last week, and is batting .335 in 127 games this year.
Pittsburgh's 'You Score as the Bucs Score' promotion wraps up following Sunday's game. The Pirates are taking $1 off the price of left- and right-field box seats for the club's Sept. 9-11 home series for every run scored while the Pirates are in Chicago. So far, the Pirates have scored 10 runs, meaning the $24 seats have already been reduced to $14. After Sunday's run total is added to the discount, the tickets will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis at www.pirates.com/howmanyruns. A limited number are tickets are available as part of this promotion.
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.