SAN DIEGO Jason Jaramillo was supposed to be the defensive catcher.
“I still am,” Jaramillo said, grinning after he whacked a pair of doubles in Saturday’s 10-1 rout of the Padres. “I feel comfortable (at the plate). It’s one of those things, you get in there and you feel confident.”
Losing Ryan Doumit for upwards of two months had the potential to torpedo the Pirates’ decent start this season. Jaramillo is helping avoid that by heating up at the plate.
“He’s doing great, both hitting and behind the plate,” Duke said. “He’s calling a great game. He’s blocking everything. He’s doing everything we could ever ask him to do. J.J.’s a very smart guy and a very hard worker.”
In five games since taking over for Doumit, Jaramillo is batting .388 (7 for 18) with three runs scored, three walks, one RBI and a stolen base. Not bad for a guy with about one week’s worth of major league experience.
“He’s swinging well,” manager John Russell said. “He’s always been able to hit a little bit. But the biggest thing is, he’s doing a nice job behind the plate. If he gets his hits, that’s a bonus for us.”
• Jaramillo gets today off (day game after a night game), so Robinzon Diaz starts at catcher. Freddy Sanchez also is off “He’s earned it,” Russell said so Ramon Vazquez will start at second base. Brian Bixler, whose plane was scheduled to land in San Diego a few minutes ago, will start at short.
• Duke was taken out last night two outs shy of a complete game. He threw 114 pitches, 79 for strikes, and allowed a run on six hits. Duke was working on an extra day’s rest because of Thursday’s off day.
“Joe (Kerrigan) and I talked, and we figured about 115 (pitches) was where we wanted him to stop,” Russell said. “He did what he was supposed to do. We didn’t want him to do much more than that.”
Evan Meek, who arrived earlier in the day to replace Craig Hanson (DL, neck spasms) got the final two outs.
• Lineups for today’s game:
PIRATES 1. Nyjer Morgan cf, 2. Ramon Vazquez 2b, 3. Brandon Moss lf, 4. Adam LaRoche 1b, 5. Eric Hinske rf, 6. Andy LaRoche 3b, 7. Robinzon Diaz c, 8. Brian Bixler ss, 9. Ross Ohlendorf (1-2, 3.00) rhp.
PADRES 1.Jody Gerut cf, 2. David Eckstein 2b, 3. Brian Giles rf, 4. Adrian Gonzalez 1b, 5. Chase Headley lf, 6. Kevin Kouzmanoff 3b, 7. Henry Blanco c, 8. Chris Burke ss, 9. Jake Peavy (2-2, 5.13) rhp.