5/21/2013 8:01 P.M. ET
Okla. native Mercer sends thoughts to tornado victims
By Steven Petrella / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Jordy Mercer didn't have any family or friends directly affected by a fatal tornado that ravaged part of Oklahoma City and its suburbs on Monday.
But Mercer is sending plenty of prayers that way.
He resides in Edmond, Okla., about 20 miles north of the destruction, and said his parents knew some people in the area. Most of his friends in the state are up north.
"I just wish I could be down there with everybody," Mercer said.
Athletes have already pledged their support for the victims, many of whom lost everything. Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant donated $1 million to the Red Cross, and Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, a native of the state, pledged to give $1,000 for every home run he hits until the All-Star break.
"Oklahoma is a sneaky state," Mercer said. "We can come together real quick."
Former pitcher Tekulve, scout Guzik to rep Bucs at Draft
PITTSBURGH -- A slew of Hall of Famers, World Series winning managers and many other former baseball greats will be on hand for the first day of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.
The Pirates will be represented by former pitcher Kent Tekulve, who had 70 wins and 158 saves with the Bucs from 1974-1985, and pro scout Rob Guzik.
Despite never starting a game in his career, Tekulve finished fifth in the National League Cy Young voting in both 1978 and 1979, saving 31 games with a sub-3.00 ERA in each season. He pitched in 94 games during the Pirates championship season of 1979, the most in baseball that year.
Guzik has worked for seven different organizations during his career in a number of different roles. The western Pennsylvania native and Latrobe graduate was the Pirates' East Coast Regional Supervisor from 2007-2011, and he was promoted to pro scout of his hometown team in November of 2011.
The draft spans three days and 40 rounds, and the first round on June 6 will be televised live on the MLB Network.
Hughes sent to Triple-A; Contreras activated
PITTSBURGH -- Jared Hughes had his locker cleared and his bags packed just two and a half days after he arrived in Pittsburgh. He barely got to settle in before he was right back out the door.
The Pirates sent the 27-year-old back to Triple-A Indianapolis Tuesday when Jose Contreras was activated from the bereavement list after tending to a death in the family.
"[Hughes] showed some improvement, although I do think there is more room for improvement," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said last week. "But he is better than he was when he got [to Indianapolis earlier in the season]."
Hughes is 1-2 with a 4.61 ERA in 13 big leagues appearances this year, but didn't see the field during his latest two-game stint in Pittsburgh. He was originally optioned to Indianapolis on May 3 to make room for Contreras after earning a spot on the Opening Day roster.
"I've got to stay positive and get better," Hughes said. "That's how it works."
Contreras has pitched four innings this year and given up five hits, two runs and a walk while striking out four.
Hughes said he has about 72 hours to get back to Indianapolis, where he hasn't given up a run in 6 2/3 innings this season.
"But I won't take that [long]," he said. "I want to get back to playing."
McCutchen back in lineup after knee soreness
PITTSBURGH -- Andrew McCutchen started Tuesday night after sitting Sunday with soreness in his right knee.
McCutchen said he was "good to go" before the game. He batted third and played center field against the Cubs.
According to manager Clint Hurdle, McCutchen said he felt "a little something along of the lines" of what he felt in his knee before he had knee surgery during his sophomore year of high school, and that heightened his awareness.
"He wanted to make sure nothing was stretched or out of place," Hurdle said. "Once we went through those procedures -- the MRI -- there was nothing structurally out of place. So he felt much better."
• Pirates players will wear Penguins jerseys while they travel to Milwaukee this weekend and Detroit next week to support their fellow Steel City athletes, who lead the Ottawa Senators 2-1 in the second round of the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"It's hard to beat playoff hockey," Hurdle said. "It's one of the most wonderful times of the year, and our team is in."
Hurdle said he doesn't know whose jersey he will wear, but a reporter suggested he should dig out a throwback -- Bill Guerin's No. 13 -- for the trip.
• Neil Walker was a career 0-for-9 against Cubs starter Matt Garza entering Tuesday, but Hurdle wanted to get him out there one more time to "test those numbers."
• The Pirates have six shutouts this season, the third most in baseball. It took them 108 games to reach that mark in 2012.
• The Pirates began a stretch of 16 games in 16 days Tuesday night.
• Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage was not with the team Tuesday night because of a personal matter. He may not be available Wednesday, either.
Bullpen coach Euclides Rojas will handle the pitchers in his place.
Third base coach Nick Leyva is also absent because of the death of his father. Rick Sofield is coaching third, and Dave Jauss is manning first.
First number, last word
Pirates batters have been hit by 26 pitches this year, the most in baseball. The Padres are next with 23, and the closest after that are the Reds and Athletics with 20 heading into Tuesday.
-- Hughes to a reporter after he said he hopes to see the reliever soon
Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.