Sanchez’s knee good to go


HOUSTON — According to manager John Russell, minor knee pain kept Freddy Sanchez out of the lineup yesterday. Sanchez’s knee feels fine today, and he is back in there for tonight’s game against the Houston Astros:

Pirates — McLouth CF, Sanchez 2B, Doumit C, Bay LF, Nady RF, LaRoche 1B, J. Bautista 3B, Van Benschoten RHP, Wilson SS

Astros — Matsui 2B, Bourn CF, Berkman 1B, Lee LF, Tejada SS, Pence RF, Wigginton 3B, Ausmus C, Hernandez RHP

Reliever Marino Salas was sent back to the minors to clear roster space for John Van Benschoten. That gives the Pirates seven relievers and five starters — and things will stay that way for a while, as the team doesn’t have another off day until July 31.

Phil Dumatrait is eligible to come off the disabled list today, but is two or three weeks away from returning. The lefty’s shoulder bursitis still has not quieted down, and he has not thrown a pitch yet during his rehab time in Bradenton, Fla. Once he gets back on the mound, Dumatrait will need to make at least two — probably three — rehab starts.