PITTSBURGH -- Monday's off-day gave Pirates manager Clint Hurdle a chance to tinker with the order of his starting rotation, but at this point, even he's not sure what changes, if any, will happen.Hurdle said before Tuesday's game against Minnesota that there have been internal discussions regarding the starting rotation. "We'll probably have more information somewhere along the lines tomorrow for you," Hurdle said. One likelihood is that the Pirates are exploring possibilities of working around Brad Lincoln, who has struggled through three straight starts. As of now, Lincoln's turn would come up again on Saturday. Kevin Correia will start against the Twins on Tuesday. Correia (2-6, 4.43 ERA) hasn't won in PNC Park since June 22, 2011. "There's a lot of places you can go with your focus, but you need to take your focus where you need to take it," Hurdle said of the right-hander. "He needs to take it on throwing quality strikes tonight, pitching in the zone, attacking these hitters. If his focus is anywhere else, he's really not putting his focus where it needs to be." Southpaw Erik Bedard (4-7, 4.36 ERA) is scheduled to follow Correia on Wednesday, with right-hander James McDonald (5-3, 2.32 ERA) taking the hill in the series finale Thursday.
Pirates ink three more draftees
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates on Tuesday reported signing three more draft picks, Adrian Sampson, D.J. Crumlich and Chris Diaz.Sampson, a right-handed pitcher out of Bellevue Community College, was taken in the fifth round. Crumlich and Diaz are both infielders, taken in the ninth and 11th rounds, respectively. Crumlich played for the University of California-Irvine, while Diaz played for North Carolina State University. All three players will start with the State College Spikes, the Pirates' Single-A short season affiliate. Pittsburgh has now signed 14 players from the 2012 First-Year Player Draft.
Take a deep breath: The Pirates have had their last day off, barring any weather-related postponements, until the All-Star Break; they've got games scheduled on 20 straight days. Tuesday was the 70th anniversary of long-time Pirates great Paul Waner's 3,000th hit -- for the Braves. Big Poison collected 2,868 hits with the Bucs prior to his release after the 1940 season, and added six with the Dodgers before they, too, released him the following May, bouncing him to the Braves. Waner became the seventh member of the 3,000-hit club with a single against the Pirates.
Jeff Karstens' return to the rehab route Tuesday night could not have gone much better, as the right-hander went seven innings, allowing six hits and a run, for Double-A Altoona in an 8-1 win over New Britain. Karstens had a goal of 80 pitches -- and made 78, walking one and striking out five.
The Last Word
"To not change anything. Go out there and be the same guy. When I stay simple and composed and within myself, everything works itself out."
-- No. 1 Draft choice Gerrit Cole, on the biggest challenge facing him in his Double-A debut, Wednesday night in Altoona.
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.