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Ohlendorf’s sore back puts McCutchen in limbo

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Pirates on Monday optioned right-hander Daniel McCutchen to Triple-A, but he might not make it back to Indianapolis.

Last night, McCutchen was in his workout uniform in the Pirates’ clubhouse, as the team prepared to play the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. McCutchen could remain with team and rejoin the rotation Saturday if righty Ross Ohlendorf is placed on the disabled list.

Ohlendorf was supposed to start last night’s game, but was scratched due to lower back spasms. Ohlendorf’s back locked up on him Friday morning, as he bent over to put his shoes on at the team hotel in Arizona.

“I was sitting on the bed,” Ohlendorf said. “It was a pretty soft bed, so I think that’s what did it.”

Manager John Russell said Ohlendorf’s injury is muscle-related, not a disc or other structural problem.

“It locked up on him pretty good,” Russell said. “He’s been back and forth. We’re optimistic he can start (Saturday).”

Ohlendorf is slated to throw a bullpen session Wednesday. If he cannot do that, he’ll likely be placed on the DL.

“I can’t throw right now,” Ohlendorf said. “I’m working toward where I hopefully can throw soon. It’s definitely a lot better than it was the first day.”

Left-hander Brian Burres was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis and started last night’s game. Burres pitched in three games for the Pirates in spring training and put up a 14.73 ERA. In 3 2/3 innings, he allowed four hits and seven walks and gone one strikeout.

“Brian was a little shaky early,” Russell said. “He got better as the spring went along.”

Under MLB rules, a major league team cannot call up a member of its 40-man roster before April 14 unless it puts another player on the DL. That factored heavily into the decision to call up Burres.

To clear a spot on the 40-man for Burres, right-hander Hayden Penn was designated for assignment.

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