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Astros-Pirates pre-game notes; Capps available

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&#149 Closer Matt Capps is cleared to pitch tonight, four days after being struck in the right elbow with a line drive at Wrigley Field. Capps threw a side session Thursday. Russell said he won’t hesitate to call on him tonight.

“He’s good to go,” Russell said. “It was a scary moment, but it feels good and nothing really happened. He’s cleared to go.”

&#149 Injured catcher Ryan Doumit (right wrist) began range-of-motion exercises Friday afternoon and could catch some bullpen sessions Saturday (he can only catch, not throw the ball back to the pitcher), but he remains at least three weeks away from a return to the lineup.

Doumit is scheduled to undergo a CT scan on or about June 15, and then, if all goes well, begin a rehabilitation assignment. The Pirates said Doumit remains on the “eight-to-10 week time-frame” since the April 23 surgery.

“Right now my wrist feels great,” Doumit said. “I got great feedback from the doctor. He said the bone looks great.”

While not permitted to do any baseball-related activities, Doumit can work on conditioning and strengthening the right wrist. His range-of-motion rehab included using a rice bucket, in which he would bury his right hand, and squeeze and turn the wrist.

“Now that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, I’m antsy,” Doumit said. “I’m anxious to get back. If the decision were up to me, I’d want to play right now.”

&#149 Struggling Ian Snell worked with pitching coach Joe Kerrigan before batting practice, throwing from the mound at PNC Park. Snell pitched mainly from the stretch with Kerrigan’s “batting dummy” along the right-side of the plate. Snell is 1-6 with a 5.43 ERA this year.

“It’s just a tune-up session for him to re-emphasize some things,” Russell said. “Joe wanted to give him a pretty good workout today and he did.”

&#149 Russell said a decision on when to return Tom Gorzelanny to a starting role — in the minors — will be made soon. The left-hander, promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis on May 17, is 2-1 with a 5.40 ERA in four appearances since replacing Tyler Yates (right elbow) in the bullpen. “At some point, we’ve got to make a decision,” Russell said. “He’s done a nice job, but as an organization, we’d like to see him do that as a starter.”

— John Grupp

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