Doumit out for second game in a row

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CHICAGO — Ryan Doumit is not in the starting lineup for the second day in a row. Doumit has been feeling soreness in his surgically repaired right wrist. X-rays taken Wednesday in Denver came back negative, and his status is day to day.

• I was off for the Rockies series, so I came here a few days early to take in Chicago’s touristy spots with my family. (Yes, that included a wild spending spree for my youngest daughter at the American Girl store.) The past three days, the Cubs played host to the Phillies, and I really was struck by the horde of red-clad Phillies fans in the hotels, restaurants, shops and (of course) bars around Michigan Avenue. There was a huge crowd of autograph-seekers camped outside the Phils’ team hotel (which is the same one the Pirates use when they’re in town). Even this morning, riding down the elevator on my way to Wrigley, I was packed in with a family of Philly fans, all wearing their World Series t-shirts. As you might have guess, I haven’t seen much black and gold around today.

• Lineups for this afternoon’s game:

PIRATES (46-68) — 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Ronny Cedeno ss, 3. Garrett Jones 1b, 4. Delwyn Young 2b, 5. Lastings Milledge lf, 6. Brandon Moss rf, 7. Andy LaRoche 3b, 8. Jason Jaramillo c, 9. Charlie Morton (2-5, 3.81) rhp

CUBS (58-55) — 1. Ryan Theriot ss, 2. Milton Bradley rf, 3. Derrek Lee 1b, 4. Aramis Ramirez 3b, 5. Kosuke Fukudome cf, 6. Alfonso Soriano lf, 7. Jeff Baker 2b, 8. Koyie Hill c, Randy Wells (8-5, 3.01)

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Cedeno off to hot start

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Ronny Cedeno has been even better than advertised since arriving from Seattle in the Jack Wilson-Ian Snell trade. In one week, he’s made a handful of outstanding defensive plays. He also has homered twice, collected seven RBI and hit safely in seven of eight games.

“He had very good numbers in the minors, but it hasn’t really equated to the major league level,” manager John Russell said. “Hopefully, he’s in a position where he can relax and just go play. We’ve seen some very good things from him so far.”

• I wonder if Albert Pujols misses Snell.

• Lineups for this afternoon’s game:

CARDINALS (61-51) — 1. Julio Lugo 2b, 2. Mark DeRosa 3b, 3. Albert Pujols 1b, 4. Matt Holliday lf, 5. Ryan Ludwick rf, 6. 6. Yadier Molina c, 7. Colby Rasmus cf, 8. Brendan Ryan cf, 9. Joel Pineiro (9-9, 3.18) rhp

PIRATES (45-65) — 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Lastings Milledge lf, 3. Delwyn Young 2b, 4. Garrett Jones rf, 5. Steve Pearce 1b, 6. Ronny Cedeno ss, 7.

Ramon Vazquez 3b, 8. Jason Jaramillo c, 9. Zach Duke (9-10, 3.45) lhp

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McCutchen cleared to play

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Andrew McCutchen (headaches, dizziness) ran sprints early this afternoon under the watchful eye of athletic trainer Brad Henderson, and was cleared to play tonight.

• Right-hander Dan Moskos (finger blister) will come off the disabled list

Saturday and start that night’s game for Double-A Altoona.

• This afternoon, Pedro Alvarez, had a pair of doubles in Altoona’s 8-1 loss against Portland. It was Alvarez’s 17th multi-hit game in 37 games with the Curve.

• Who is the bonehead responsible for the music played at PNC Park during pregame batting practice? Wednesday night, with two groups of kids — seven children from The Pittsburgh Project and 50 from the Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania — sitting down the third base line watching b.p., a couple of songs laced with profanities blared from the speakers. This has happened before other home games, as well — even on Sundays, which are specifically targeted toward kids and families. I’m not saying the Pirates should plug into Radio Disney for pregame entertainment, but somebody oughta use better judgement.

• Lineups for tonight’s game:

DIAMONDBACKS — 1. Stephen Drew ss, 2. Romero rf, 3.Gerardo Parra lf, 4. Mark Reynolds 3b, 5. Miguel Montero c, 6. Chad Tracy 1b, 7. Trent Oeltjen lf, 8. Augie Ojeda ss, 9. Max Scherzer (6-6, 3.80) rhp

PIRATES — 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Lastings Milledge lf, 3. Garrett Jones 1b, 4. Ryan Doumit c, 5. Delwyn Young 2b, 6. Brandon Moss rf, 7. Andy LaRoche 3b, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Kevin Hart (3-1, 2.60) rhp

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McCutchen gets a breather

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After 54 consecutive days in the starting lineup, center fielder Andrew McCutchen is getting a day off. McCutchen suffered a bad headache last night after being swiped on the head by first baseman Chad Tracy’s mitt. McCutchen said he’s feeling better today, but was being held out of the lineup and underwent tests as a precaution.

• Shelby Ford, who began the year as the team’s top prospect at second base, was demoted to Double-A Altoona. “Two main reasons,” said farm director Kyle Stark, “one, his continued struggles at Triple-A and two, Jim Negrych’s injury. Shelby won’t be taking any at-bats away from him (at Altoona).” Negrych is out for the rest of the year after having abdominal surgery.

• Pedro Lopez was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis, filling Ford’s spot.

• Lineups for tonight’s game:

DIAMONDBACKS — 1. Stephen Drew ss, 2. Gerardo Parra lf, 3. Justin Upton rf, 4. Mark Reynolds 3b, 5. Miguel Montero c, 6. Ryan Roberts 2b, 7. Chad Tracy 1b, 8. Chris Young cf, 9. Doug Davis (5-10, 3.73) lhp

PIRATES — 1. Ronny Cedeno ss, 2. Lastings Milledge lf, 3. Delwyn Young 2b, 4. Garrett Jones lf, 5. Steve Pearce 1b, 6. Andy LaRoche 3b, 7. Jeff Salazar cf, 8. Jason Jaramillo, 9. Ross Ohlendorf (9-8, 4.43) rhp

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Jones feted, Hansen examined

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Garrett Jones today was named NL rookie of the month for July. In 25 games last month, Jones hit .310 and led all NL rookies with 10 homers, 17 RBI and a .700 slugging percentage. He also had seven doubles, five stolen bases and a .361 on-base percentage.

“It feels good to get the opportunity to come up here, play every day and have success,” Jones said. “I felt good when I got up here and just tried to do some damage.”

• Reliever Craig Hansen’s career may be in jeopardy due to Parsonage-Turner Syndrome, a rare condition which affects the nerves that conduct signals from the spine to the shoulder. PTS is marked by severe pain, shoulder paralysis and lack of control of the arm, wrist or hand. The cause of PTS is unknown, but it has been linked to viral and bacterial infections, surgery, vaccinations and parasitic infestation.

Hansen is at PNC Park today for his once-a-month nerve exam — a highly uncomfortable procedure in which needles and other probes are inserted in his wrist, arm, shoulder, armpit, back and neck. About 75 percent of those affected by PTS have fully recovered within two years, but some recoveries take up to five years.

• Minor league pitcher Mike Koplove was traded to the Seattle Mariners for shortstop Deybis Benitez, who was assigned to Class A West Virginia.

• Andrew McCutchen will sign autographs from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Giant Eagle in Seven Fields.

• I stopped by the visitors’ clubhouse before last night’s game against the Nats to chat with NyjMo and Sean Burnett. A sign on the bulletin board reminded Washington’s players their attendance was mandatory Tuesday in D.C. for a team photo. Considering the Nats were reasonably active at last Friday’s trading deadline, it probably made sense to delay the photo shoot. But the Pirates, who were this year’s most active traders, took their team picture in late July, days before the deadline. Just a couple of weeks later, that photo already is out of date.

• Lineups for tonight’s game:

DIAMONDBACKS — 1. Stephen Drew ss, 2. Ryan Roberts 2b, 3. Justin Upton rf, 4. Mark Reynolds 3b, 5. Parra lf, 6. Chris Snyder c, 7. Chad Tracy 1b, 8. Chris Young cf, 9. Yusmeiro Petit (1-6, 6.75)

PIRATES — 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Lastings Milledge lf, 3. Garrett Jones lf, 4. Ryan Doumit c, 5. Steve Pearce 1b, 6. Andy LaRoche 3b, 7. Ramon Vazquez 2b, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Zach Duke (9-9, 3.26) lhp

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Dumatrait making progress

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Left-hander Phil Dumatrait, who’s on the 60-day disabled list recovering from shoulder surgery, worked out this afternoon at PNC Park. He’ll be in town through Wednesday, then join Triple-A Indianapolis to make his fourth rehab start. “My shoulder feels back to normal,” Dumatrait said.

Dumatrait will make at least two starts for Indy, then rejoin the Pirates. He threw 56 pitches in his first rehab start in the Gulf Coast League, 65 for short-season Class A State College and 78 last week for Double-A Altoona. He expects to throw between 85-90 Thursday for Indy.

The Pirates are stretching out Dumatrait to be a starter. But it’s too soon to say what his role will be when he rejoins the Pirates . “Baby steps,” manager John Russell said. “Let’s get him back first. The biggest thing is, he doesn’t feel (pain in) his shoulder.”

Dumatrait’s comeback has taken months longer than anyone expected. He had his first setback during minicamp in January, and has been battling ever since. “It”s been frustrating,” he said. “Even though I’m only here a few days, it’s nice just to see the guys and be in the clubhouse with them again.”

The roster has changed significantly since Dumatrait was last around the team during spring training. “It’s definitely different, seeing all the new faces,” he said. “I’ve been watching the games down in Florida, and I think things are going in the right direction.”

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McCutchen on a roll

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Andrew McCutchen was among 14 candidates for the NL player of the week award, which this week is shared by Washington’s Josh Willingham and San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum. Last week, McCutchen hit .333 with three homers (all coming in one game) and six RBI.

McCutchen’s homer binge Saturday gave him six this sesaon and moved him into a tie for seventh place among NL rookies. Among the league’s newbies, McCutchen ranks second in slugging percentage (.484), third in batting average (.292), fourth in RBI (31) and fourth in total bases (106). He also shares the lead with 20 multi-hit gmaes.

• Lineups for tonight’s game:

NATIONALS — 1. Nyjer Morgan cf, 2. Cristian Guzman ss, 3. Ryan Zimmerman 3b, 4. Adam Dunn 1b, 5. Josh Willingham lf, 6. Elijah Dukes rf, 7. Josh Bard c, 8. Alberto Gonzalez 2b, 9. Garrett Mock (0-4, 7.09) rhp

PIRATES — 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Lastings Milledge lf, 3. Garrett Jones lf, 4. Ryan Doumit c, 5. Steve Pearce 1b, 6. Delwyn Young 2b, 7. Andy LaRoche 3b, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Charlie Morton (2-3, 3.72) rhp

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Pirates fall to Nationals, 5-3

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The Washington Nationals rallied for three runs in the seventh inning and beat the Pirates, 5-3, on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.

Ronny Cedeno and Delwyn Young homered for the Pirates, who had won two in a row to open a 10-game home-stand.

Josh Willingham went 2-for-3 with a home run, a double and three RBI, as the Nationals snapped a four-game losing streak. Ryan Zimmerman was 2-for-3 with two runs and Alberto Gonzalez added two RBI.

Former Pirates reliever Sean Burnett (2-2), who was greeted by loud boos from the crowd of 21,894 for his critical remarks about his old team, got the win in relief.

Pirates starter Paul Maholm (6-6), who cruised through the first six innings, faltered in the seventh as the Nationals turned a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead. Maholm, who allowed only three hits — all singles — through six innings, gave up three runs on four hits while getting one out in the seventh.

Maholm finished with four earned runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings. He has only three wins in his past 18 starts.

Nationals starter Collin Balester allowed two runs on five hits in 5.2 innings. Mike MacDougal picked up his seventh save.

The Pirates were trying to win three in a row for the first time since June 25-27.

In the seventh, Zimmerman singled to open the inning and Willingham drove a two-run homer into the left-field seats for a 3-2 Nationals lead. Back-to-back doubles by Ronnie Belliard and Alberto Gonzalez made it 4-2.

— John Grupp

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Kearns a late scratch

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Austin Kearns was just scratched from the Nationals lineup. No details given. Alberto Gonzalez will start at second base. Here is the new lineup.

NATIONALS – 1. Nyjer Morgan cf, 2. Cristian Guzman ss, 3. Ryan Zimmerman 3b, 4. Josh Willingham lf, 5. Elijah Dukes rf, 6. Ronnie Belliard 1b, 7. Alberto Gonzalez 2b, 8. Wil Nieves c, rhp Collin Balester (1-1, 4.00)

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Pirates-Nationals lineups

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One day after Andrew McCutchen’s three home-run game, the Pirates will try to win the third game of a four-game series with the Washington Nationals at 1:35 p.m. today at PNC Park.

Nationals outfielder Adam Dunn, a career .103 hitter (3 for 28) against Paul Maholm, gets the day off.

NATIONALS – 1. Nyjer Morgan cf, 2. Cristian Guzman ss, 3. Ryan Zimmerman 3b, 4. Josh Willingham 1b, 5. Elijah Dukes lf, 6. Ronnie Belliard 2b, 7. Austin Kearns rf, 8. Wil Nieves c, rhp Collin Balester (1-1, 4.00)

PIRATES – 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Lastings Milledge lf, 3. Garrett Jones 1b, 4. Ryan Doumit c, 5. Delwyn Young 2b, 6. Andy LaRoche 3b, 7. Brandon Moss rf, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Paul Maholm (6-5, 4.70)

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