8/29/2014 11:56 P.M. ET
No marked improvement for Morton after rehab start
By Stephen Pianovich / MLB.com
PITTSBURGH -- Charlie Morton threw four innings in a rehab start for Double-A Altoona on Thursday, but manager Clint Hurdle noted that the right-handed sinkerballer "didn't feel significantly better" than he did in his previous start.
Morton has been on the disabled list since Aug. 17 with a sports hernia in his right hip, an injury that has bothered him since a start against the Padres on June 2. The hernia affected him between starts as well as on the mound, and after conferring with doctors, the plan was to give him a few days off to calm inflammation in the hip.
Morton's start on Thursday was his first in 13 days, and he threw four innings (73 pitches), giving up two runs on four hits, with half of the 12 outs he got coming via strikeout.
Hurdle had yet to speak directly with Morton but spoke of the reports he received.
"He executed pitches. I liked the number of strikes he was able to throw, he pitched out of the windup and the stretch," Hurdle said. "He didn't feel significantly better than the last time he took the ball, so we're going to take his feedback and decide what step is next."
Snider confident a few days' rest will do the trick
PITTSBURGH -- Neither outfielder Travis Snider nor first baseman Pedro Alvarez was in the lineup on Friday, as both left games early with injuries earlier in the week.
Alvarez sprained his left foot while diving after a ground ball on Tuesday. He was removed from that game in the seventh inning and was unavailable on Wednesday.
Snider left Wednesday's game after tweaking his hamstring on the basepaths. Snider, who has taken over in right field since Gregory Polanco went into a slump and was sent to Triple-A, underwent treatment on Thursday's off-day.
"Going into today, [I'm] doing some baseball activities and seeing where we're at. Whether I'll be able to pinch-hit tonight or the next night or two will be decided on how things progress through practice and how I'm feeling afterward," Snider said on Friday.
Despite having just two hits in his last 21 at-bats, Snider is hitting at a .328 clip in his last 16 games, with three homers and nine doubles. He noted that he's had similar injuries in the past and hopes that a few days of rest -- though he didn't have an exact timetable -- would set up a healthy return.
"I've dealt with these types of injuries in the past where if you can limit the exposure over the first couple of days, it puts you in a good position to be healthy in the coming weeks," he said. "I'm not putting a date or time on anything, but really [just] understanding how my body reacts to these kinds of things and doing everything I can in the next however many days it takes to get ready to go."
Harrison honored with Heart and Hustle Award
PITTSBURGH -- Josh Harrison was announced as the Pirates' Heart and Hustle Award winner, and he was honored at PNC Park prior to the series opener with the Reds on Friday.
Harrison, 27, has been a jack of all trades for the Pirates, manning multiple positions and doing so at an All-Star level in his first season as an everyday player in the Majors. He has settled in at third base and is hitting .304, with 47 extra-base hits -- 23 of which have come after the All-Star break to lead the National League.
Manager Clint Hurdle believes Harrison has as good a case as any to win the league-wide Heart and Hustle Award, which will be announced in New York on Nov. 18.
"You talk about heart, you talk about hustle, he embodies both," Hurdle said. "If you want to watch a player, you put your eyes on Josh Harrison and watch him play the game. I think you'll walk away with some lessons learned."
Pirates recall Lambo from Indianapolis
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates recalled outfielder/first baseman Andrew Lambo from Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday. Right-hander Gerrit Cole, whose next scheduled start comes on Monday, after the active rosters expand to 40 players, was temporarily optioned to Bristol of the Rookie League to make room.
The Bucs are dealing with injuries to both first baseman Pedro Alvarez and outfielder Travis Snider, making Lambo a helpful addition to the bench.
"We have two left-handed hitters [who might not] be available this weekend," manager Clint Hurdle said. "[Lambo has] continued to work hard to get ready for an opportunity, and it's presented itself now."
Lambo soon had an opportunity to make an impact. Pinch-hitting in the eighth inning, he reached on a single and scored the game-tying run in the 2-1 win.
In 61 games for Indianapolis this season, Lambo, 26, hit .328 with 11 homers, 42 RBIs and a .952 OPS. He had six home runs in his last eight games before the promotion, touting a 1.326 OPS in that time. He made his Major League debut for the Bucs last season, hitting .233 in 18 games between August and September.
Cole will be activated before Monday's afternoon contest in St. Louis to make his third start since coming off the disabled list. In two starts since straining his lat on July 4, he has a 2.77 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 13 innings.
First number, last word
4: Number of hitters in Friday's lineup who have a career OPS above .800 against Cincinnati starter Mike Leake: Harrison (1.067), Neil Walker (.946), Russell Martin (.863) and Jose Tabata (.838).
"Always looking for somebody to put up top to put in front of the guys that are hitting three and four. There is something also to be said: If I move him, how many other guys do I have to move? Who matches up in that spot? I kind of like the way all the other guys have set so far and the work they're doing." -- Hurdle, on placing Tabata second in the lineup on Friday
• Catching prospect Elias Diaz was named the MVP for Double-A Altoona earlier in the week. Diaz hit .328 with an .823 OPS in 91 games for Altoona before being promoted to Triple-A this month.
Diaz, 23, has gone from an under-the-radar prospect to a potential Pirates backstop of the future. Former first-round Draft pick Tony Sanchez has recently started making starts at first base, transitioning from behind the plate.
Stephen Pianovich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.