06/16/12 9:10 PM ET
Mercer learning life as a reserve
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
Pitching reinforcements on the way to Bucs
CLEVELAND -- Changes, both short-term and long-term, could be coming to the Pirates, but not in the area that jumps out as the one needing the most help. Any offensive upgrade will have to come with the improved production of those already in-house.On the other hand, the imminent conclusion of two pitchers' rehabs will trigger a minor shakeup of the staff. According to manager Clint Hurdle, Chris Leroux could be two weeks away from returning from the strained pectoral muscle that has had him on the 60-day disabled list since April 3. Jeff Karstens' return is penciled in for July 1. The right-hander's setback from a hip flexor tweak is considered minor enough that he is expected to make 80 pitches when he picks up his rehab assignment with Triple-A Altoona on Tuesday. Karstens' has been on the disabled list since mid-April with shoulder inflammation. "It's not set that it'll be one-and-done. He might need two [rehab starts]," Hurdle said.
- 142 wins
- 110 wins
Would the universe implode if the Pirates played the Dodgers on a Saturday? The Bucs improved to 9-2 on that day of the week, while the Dodgers took a 10-0 Saturday record into their Saturday night game with the White Sox. Pedro Alvarez's multi-homer game was the third of his career and first since July 21, 2010, when he enjoyed the second of consecutive two-homer games against the Brewers. The Pirates improved to 14-2 when they get 10-plus hits, 14-4 when Alvarez collects an RBI and 4-20 in their last 24 Interleague games on the road.
The Last Word
"He was in a rough place early. Sometimes, those things can send you the wrong way. But he stayed positive and focused."
-- Manager Clint Hurdle on Casey McGehee, who struck out with two men on in the first and hit into an inning-ending double play in the third -- but wound up Saturday driving in four runs, with a two-run homer and two-run single.
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.