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03/02/11 7:35 PM ET

MRI on Beimel's elbow shows no acute injury

Pirates reliever plans to test arm Thursday by playing catch

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates announced on Wednesday afternoon that MRI results on Joe Beimel's left elbow showed no acute injury, even though the left-hander said he didn't actually finish the exam.

Beimel explained that the positioning of his arm -- which he held above his head in order for it to slide into the MRI tube -- caused the arm to go numb after about 20 minutes. His attempts to get feeling back in the arm were unsuccessful, and so the exam ended prematurely.

"[The doctor] was telling me how I was going to get in there, and I didn't see how I was supposed to fit in there," Beimel said. "I can play Pac-Man on my cell phone, but I have to contort my body to get an MRI."

Doctors told Beimel that because he moved his arm around so much, only one picture came out clear enough to read. That one image was enough, though, for doctors to confirm that the injury was not any more severe than initially anticipated.

Beimel will not undergo a second MRI and reported already feeling better on Wednesday, one day after he stopped throwing because of discomfort in the arm.

"My arm feels pretty good today," said Beimel, who first felt the soreness on Saturday. "If it was hurting the same, then it might be something to worry about. Today, I don't even feel it at all."

Beimel did not throw on Wednesday but planned to test his arm by playing catch on Thursday -- assuming that there were no new setbacks.

General manager Neal Huntington did not put a timeline on Beimel's return, saying in a statement that Beimel's activity level from this point on will be dictated by his symptoms.

Ohlendorf pleased with arm strength after debut

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Ross Ohlendorf was eager to test his arm following an offseason of intense arm exercises and a prescribed throwing program. The right-hander got that first opportunity on Wednesday and was especially pleased with how strong his arm felt.

"I felt really good with how I was throwing," Ohlendorf said. "This is the best I have felt in Spring Training in a couple of years. Especially coming off the shoulder injury at the end of the season, it's important to have that behind me."

Because of his pitch count, Ohlendorf fell one out shy of logging his scheduled two innings in the Pirates' 4-2 loss to the Twins. But that was hardly a concern, as Ohlendorf struck out four and showed good life on both his fastball and slider. He allowed one unearned run, two hits and a walk.

After missing the final six weeks of last season because of tightness in his right shoulder, Ohlendorf focused heavily on increasing his arm strength in an offseason conditioning program. He diligently exercised his arm, following a precise throwing program in his progression back to the mound.

The changes to Ohlendorf's routine seem to be paying off. With a month to go before Opening Day, Ohlendorf appears right on track to be healthy and strong as he attempts to rebound from an injury-plagued season.

"The place he worked to this winter, he was so confident because he was so disciplined," said manager Clint Hurdle. "There was so much work done. It was a good outing for Ross. He looked good out there."

Hart reporting progress from throwing program

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Kevin Hart is a ways off from getting back on the mound, but he reported progress and no setbacks as he continues his throwing program on flat ground.

Hart, who halted throwing in early February due to some minor inflammation, has been keeping his arm strong since he resumed throwing the first week of Spring Training. Hart was already throwing off the mound when the initial setback occurred.

"The goal now is to get it as strong as possible so that when I get on the mound again, it won't take six weeks of bullpens to get back to where it was," Hart said. "It should be a shorter period of time."

Hart hasn't ruled out competing to make the Opening Day roster, though it seems more likely that he'd need a bit more time to completely recover from the right shoulder surgery he had in May. Without specifying, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said that Hart still has some checkpoints to clear in his throwing program before he can get back on the mound.

Hart is out of options, but the Pirates could place him on the disabled list at the beginning of the season to buy more time and decide whether Hart is ready to join the bullpen in Pittsburgh.

Pirates bring back 'Buc Night' on April 8

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The popular "Buc Night" promotion is returning to PNC Park when the Pirates face the Rockies on Friday, April 8. A limited number of $1 tickets will be available for the game, and hot dogs and popcorn will be on sale for just $1. Soft drinks will be discounted by $1 at the general concession stands.

With "Buc Night" falling on a Friday this year, all fans attending the game will receive a free Pirates T-shirt.

To purchase discounted tickets or to get more information on the promotion, visit pirates.com.

The Pirates also announced dates for their series of Pirates Blood Drives, all of which will take place in the PNC Park press conference room. The first drive is scheduled for Monday from 12-6 p.m. ET.

Each person who donates will receive a promotional item and be given a ticket to the Pirates' April 10 game against the Rockies. Donors will also be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a trip for two to Chicago to see the Pirates play the Cubs at Wrigley Field on April 7.

Pirates alumni Grant Jackson will be at the ballpark from 1-3 p.m. ET to sign autographs for those donating blood.

The other three blood drives this year are scheduled for May 2-3, June 27-29 and August 29-30. Walk-ins are welcome, though interested donors can also call 412-209-7080 or go to www.centralbloodbank.org to schedule an appointment.

Bucs Bits

Pirates players attended a meeting with the Major League Baseball Players Association on Wednesday morning. Among those representing the MLBPA were executive director Michael Weiner and former Pirates outfielder Bobby Bonilla, who is one of Weiner's special assistants. ... Outfielder Starling Marte made an appearance in Wednesday's game and laced a line-drive single to left in his first at-bat. Marte, ranked by Baseball America as the organization's No. 4 prospect, missed almost three months with a hand injury in 2010. ... Closer Joel Hanrahan was unable to make it through his inning on Wednesday. He was chased after allowing a home run and two singles and issuing a walk. Hanrahan pitched a scoreless inning in his previous spring start.

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.