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Pre-game, series finale vs. Cards

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First, a little left over from last night.

One of the things Clint Hurdle focused on during spring training was hitters being aggressive in the count early, and he felt like that did not happen against the Cardinals on Tuesday. Of the 27 outs, 11 were strikeouts and seven were fly-outs, which Hurdle counts up as soft outs.

“The guys are aware of it,” he said. “We just have to do a better job with two strikes. I think some of our problem is we’re still not aggressive enough in the count early. Take a lot of pitches getting two strikes.”

As far as getting frustrated that that particular message may not be sinking in the same way that, say, being aggressive on the basepaths is, Hurdle said there’s no frustration. You just keep coaching.

“You keep coaching and there might be a time when you have to pull a guy out to help him with his focus if he’s not getting it done,” Hurdle said. “But you keep coaching, you keep showing them the numbers, show them the tape of what have you, and they have to take ownership of it.”

 With that said, Josh Rodriguez will make his first major league start at shortstop today. His family, however, probably won’t get to watch the game. His father won a trip to the Bahamas a month and a half ago, making it perhaps the one and only time that they would not want to be on an island vacation.

 Lineups:
For the Pirates (3-2)
Jose Tabata lf, Neil Walker 2b, Andrew McCutchen cf, Lyle Overbay 1b, Pedro Alvarez 3b, Ryan Doumit c, Garrett Jones rf, Josh Rodriguez ss, Kevin Correia RHP.
For the Cardinals (2-3):
Ryan Theriot ss, Colby Rasmus cf, Albert Pujols 1b, Lance Berkman rf, Allen Craig lf, Skip Schumaker 2b, Yadier Molina c, Daniel Descalso 3b, Chris Carpenter RHP.
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 And finally, here’s a medical update from the Pirates:
Jose Ascanio pitched one inning in an intrasquad game, Joe Beimel pitched one inning in an intrasquad game, Brad Lincoln pitched three innings, Scott Olsen threw a bullpen, Chris Snyder caught five innings and had three at bats in an intrasquad game. All on Tuesday, all without issue.

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