Pirates-Nationals pre-game notes


• Virgil Vasquez still is listed as the starter for Tuesday’s game as new Pirate Kevin Hart, acquired from the Cubs, pitched on Thursday and wouldn’t be available. Hart will take Vasquez’s spot in the rotation, but it is uncertain when he will make his first start, manager John Russell said. Hart, who will wear No. 25, was not expected to arrive at PNC Park until later Friday afternoon.

• Outfielder Lastings Milledge credited a renewed work ethic with his productive month at Triple-A Indianapolis. Milledge, recalled on Friday to take Freddy Sanchez’s spot on the 25-man roster, hit .333 in 17 games after being acquired from tonight’s opponent, the Nationals.

“It feels good to get another shot,” he said. “I worked real hard in Triple-A and the hard work is really paying off.”

Milledge, a former first-round draft pick, is batting second and started in left field, as he becomes an everyday outfielder for the Pirates. Milledge, 24, is wearing uniform No. 85.

• Former Mariner Ronny Cedeno, who came over in the Jack Wilson trade, also is in the clubhouse this afternoon, and will start at shortstop. Cedeno, wearing No. 13, said he hopes being back in the NL – he started his career with the Cubs – will help him improve at the plate. Cedeno is a career .283 hitter at PNC Park.

• Delwyn Young worked extensively with infield instructor Perry Hill about four hours before the game, specifically on his double-play pivot. Young, who will get the majority of the starts at second base the rest of the year after Freddy Sanchez was traded.

• Russell said the set-up job handled by John Grabow, traded to the Cubs on Thursday, will be done by a committee of Jesse Chavez, Joel Hanrahan and Evan Meek.

“I think our options are very good,” Russell said. “I think it’s going to be match-up.”

• Just met up with former Pirates Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett in the Nationals clubhouse, and both were excited to be back in their former ballpark. Each has excelled in their new environment. Morgan is batting .404 since the trade, while Burnett has an 0.79 ERA in 12 appearances with the Nationals.

“I’m happy to be here,” Burnett said. “It’s a good opportunity for me.”

• Outfielder and prized prospect Jose Tabata continued his ascent through the minor leagues. He was assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis today.