5/20/2014 7:44 P.M. ET
Martin to catch Grilli in simulated game
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- The game will be simulated on Wednesday, but the stakes will be real. Jason Grilli and catcher Russell Martin, both on the disabled list since April 26 with a strained left oblique and strained left hamstring, respectively, will team up at PNC Park to set the clock on their returns.
It will be the second sim game in as many days for Grilli, who threw 20 pitches on Tuesday. The batters he faced included Martin, who will move behind the plate for Wednesday's rerun.
"He's feeling very, very good," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Martin, whose intense conditioning has included everything but squatting, "and the catch component is most critical now. He even fired off a checked-swing [in Tuesday's sim game] and held his ground, didn't feel anything."
Martin had cited checking his swing while batting as the most painful element of an injury he had coped with since Spring Training, and what ultimately forced him on the DL.
Grilli's challenge now, Hurdle said, "is to get out there [Wednesday] and see how the fastball command shows up and how sharp the breaking ball is on the second of back-to-back days."
The club appears willing to go along with Grilli's insistence that he won't need any Minor League rehab work prior to being activated and resuming his closing duties.
Martin's agenda has not yet been determined. Hurdle planned to discuss that with bench coach Jeff Banister and general manager Neal Huntington at some point prior to Wednesday's sim game.
With O's in town, Bucs to honor 1979 champs
PITTSBURGH -- The appearance of the Baltimore Orioles in PNC Park will create a wave of nostalgia for the Pirates, who on Wednesday will celebrate the 35th anniversary of the team's last World Series championship.
A large contingent of players and other team personnel are expected to be on hand to trigger and share memories of that 1979 triumph over the Orioles in seven games.
Former players scheduled to attend include Dave Parker, Bill Madlock, Manny Sanguillen, Rennie Stennett, Phil Garner, Mike Easler, Tim Foli, Bruce Kison, Matt Alexander, Grant Jackson, Lee Lacy, Omar Moreno, Steve Nicosia, Ed Ott, Don Robinson, Jim Rooker and Kent Tekulve.
Also on hand for on-field pregame ceremonies will be coaches Al Monchak and Bob Skinner -- the left fielder on the '60 championship Bucs -- and long-time trainer Tony Bartirome.
First number, last word
15: Home runs for Neil Walker in his last 200 at-bats, going back to last season, or one every 13.3 at-bats; 2013 co-National League leaders Pedro Alvarez and Paul Goldschmidt averaged a homer every 15.5 and 16.7 at-bats, respectively.
"Surprised that my character in the video game actually makes some decent throws to the bases." -- Pirates catcher Tony Sanchez, who has coped with some real-life problems throwing a baseball, via Twitter on his MLB The Show 14 alter ego.
• Starling Marte was back in the lineup two days after being pulled with left hamstring tightness. Jose Tabata, who left the same game with right hamstring tightness, was proclaimed fit for duty off the bench, while hot Josh Harrison got the start in right.
• Stolmy Pimentel (on the DL since May 3 with right shoulder inflammation) is due to throw one more bullpen session before going out on a rehab assignment.
• Boyhood Yankees fan Gerrit Cole admitted being greatly disappointed by not getting to face Derek Jeter when he started the nightcap of Sunday's doubleheader.
"But I had a couple of days to deal with that letdown," said Cole, alluding to the Friday rainout that created the twin bill. "I immediately knew he'd start the first game and not the second. It would've been nice."
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.