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05/10/10 7:36 PM ET

Church's wrist sore but feeling better

PITTSBURGH -- Ryan Church took some swings in the batting cage on Monday, but he remains limited in his availability due to a bruised right wrist.

"It's really sore," Church said, pointing to his heavily taped wrist that was hit by a pitch in Friday's loss to the Cardinals. Church has not played since, and though manager John Russell said the outfielder would be available off the bench on Monday, Church said he is doubtful he'd have the wrist strength to be an effective pinch hitter.

He did add, though, that the wrist was feeling much better than it had been on Sunday.

Prior to being hit, Church had made seven consecutive starts in the outfield. He went deep in each of the first two games of the homestand and has a .254 season average.

Pirates designate Bass for assignment

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates designated right-hander Brian Bass for assignment on Monday in order to open up a spot on the 25-man roster for Ross Ohlendorf to be reinstated from the disabled list.

The move came as no surprise, given that the Pirates had one reliever too many with Jeff Karstens sliding from the rotation into the bullpen.

Bass made three appearances out of the 'pen during his two weeks with the club. In all, he allowed nine earned runs on nine hits and eight walks in 6 1/3 innings. The Pirates now have 10 days to trade, release or waiver Bass, who is out of options and therefore couldn't simply be optioned back to Triple-A.

Clement progressing with swing mechanics

PITTSBURGH -- First baseman Jeff Clement returned to the lineup on Sunday -- and was back in it on Monday -- after spending four days out working extensively on the mechanics of his swing.

Clement went 1-for-4 in Sunday's game, but there is still plenty of work to be done. Carrying over the changes Clement is trying to repeat during batting practice into games remains one of the biggest challenges right now.

"He's still a little bigger in the game than he is during BP," manager John Russell said, referring to the exaggerated torso rotation that the Pirates want Clement to eliminate in his swing. "Muscle memory is still going to take some time. It looked better [on Sunday]. It wasn't as much movement, but still has a little. We'll continue to work."

Though he won't be in the lineup every day, Clement will remain a pretty regular starter. That way the Pirates can evaluate whether these swing changes can allow Clement to tap into his offensive potential.

To this point, though, Clement's production at the plate has been a disappointment this season. He entered Monday hitting .177 with just five extra-base hits and five RBIs in 26 games.

"Anytime you make changes to your swing, it's going to take some time," Clement said. "It's especially tough at this level where you're facing guys like [Adam Wainwright on Sunday] when you're trying to work on something."

Worth noting

Indianapolis Indians right-hander Jeremy Powell was named International League Pitcher of the Week for his performance in two Triple-A starts last week. He went 2-0 and allowed just one earned run in 13 innings. Powell is the first Indians player to win league honors this season. ... Double-A left-hander Rudy Owens, who pitched six no-hit innings last week, dropped his first decision of the season on Sunday. Owens (3-1) allowed five earned runs on six hits and three walks in five innings.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.