09/13/12 12:30 AM ET
Karstens to 'pen for short term; J-Mac in spotlight
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
Alvarez dealing with injured right wrist
CINCINNATI -- Shortly before the start of Wednesday night's game against the Reds, third baseman Pedro Alvarez was scratched from the Pirates' lineup. His right wrist was not feeling right.A few hours later, it became clear how wrong that wrist felt: Manager Clint Hurdle could not even use Alvarez off the bench in a one-run game with a right-handed reliever on the mound. After left-handed hitter Jeff Clement delivered a two-out pinch single off J.J. Hoover, righty-hitting Jose Tabata pinch-hit and fanned to end the 2-1 loss. "It just started bothering me about 1:30 this afternoon," said Alvarez, holding up his heavily bandaged right wrist. "I have no idea what's going on. We'll take another look at it [Thursday, an off-day] and maybe have a better idea." "Pedro was unavailable," Hurdle confirmed. "He's not sure how he hurt the wrist. He just showed up at the park and complained that his wrist felt funny. The trainer worked on him a bit and he tried to hit in the cage, but it didn't respond at all. He could do everything but swing the bat."
Andrew McCutchen started play Wednesday only two shy of the Pittsburgh record for home runs by a center fielder, 28 by Brian Giles in 1999. Nate McLouth also clocked 26 homers in 2008, the season before McCutchen inherited the position. Thursday's off-day, before they begin a four-game series in Chicago against the Cubs, is the Pirates' final scheduled bye of the season. They are due to play 20 straight games through the Oct. 3 finale in PNC Park against the Braves. In the four games following their seven-error debacle in Friday's 12-2 loss to the Cubs, the Bucs had committed a total of two errors.
"We're a pitch, a play, a hit away from getting hot, and that's what I hold onto every day I show up. And that's what I continue to share with [the players], to get them focused in that direction."
-- Hurdle, on living with the five-game losing streak the club took into Wednesday night's game in Cincinnati
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.