07/26/12 9:33 PM ET
A difficult decision: Hurdle moves Correia to bullpen
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
Wandy with new perspective on Minute Maid Park
HOUSTON -- Looking out of uniform to local media and fans, and to his former teammates, Wandy Rodriguez strolled across Minute Maid Park after a throwing session in the visitor's bullpen.It may understandably be a "hard situation for me, very strange," but the newest member of the Pirates did not misplace his "we." "I'll try to help this team -- they're playing very good now. We need to make the playoffs," Rodriguez said midway through his first afternoon in the Bucs' No. 51 uniform. "That's why they picked me up. They want to play in the playoffs, so I'll do the best I can." His first chance at that comes Saturday night, when he'll face the Astros and their starter ... well, we don't yet know who that will be, since Houston has to fill the rotation spot formerly occupied by Rodriguez. The longtime subject of trade rumors, Rodriguez was happy that when a deal went down, it was with the Pirates. "They kept trying to trade me, but I didn't know where I was going. Then they told me Pittsburgh, and I felt good," Rodriguez said. "I'll try to help these guys." Rodriguez will be of considerable help to the newest guy. He and Starling Marte, who made his Major League debut Thursday night, become the only two natives of the Dominican Republic on the Bucs' roster. "I'm happy to have another Dominican in the clubhouse," Marte said. "He's a veteran guy and I hope to be able to pick his brain. He can lead me in the right direction."
"Enough stuff going on today? Do you have enough things to write about?"
-- Pirates bench coach Jeff Banister, looking out for reporters on the day both Starling Marte and Wandy Rodriguez laced it up for the first time with the Bucs.
Correia, freshly moved to the bullpen, is the first Pirates pitcher to both lose and win five straight decisions in a season since Vernon Law, in 1965. However, that season by Law deserves special mention as one of the oddest on record: In turn, The Deacon lost five straight, won eight straight, lost another four in a row -- then won his last nine decisions. Thursday's game began the Pirates' longest road trip of the season -- four in Houston, followed by three each in Chicago and Cincinnati. The Bucs embarked on it with an away record of 22-26. However, it is worth recalling that they dropped their first five road games of the season, making them 22-21 since. Oddly, the Pirates and Astros have met in three series in Pittsburgh since their previous Minute Maid Park encounter, last Aug. 29-31. The Bucs won eight of those 10 encounters at PNC Park, including the last six in a row.
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.