Pregame: Cedeno still the starter, but …


Manager Clint Hurdle stressed this morning that Brandon Wood has not usurped Ronny Cedeno as the starting shortstop. “No,” Hurdle said emphatically. “He’s played three games. I’m just riding the hot hand right now.”

Wood will make his fourth straight start (one at third base, followed by three at short) this afternoon in the finale against the Giants. In his debut Monday, Wood smacked a two-run double. Last night, he went 1 for 2 with a walk.

»»» In case you missed it last night, outfielder John Bowker was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot for waiver wire pickup  Xavier Paul. Bowker got caught in a logjam on the depth chart and was expendable. “He was my third left fielder, my third right fielder, my third first baseman,” Hurdle said.

»»» Paul took the locker which previously was used by Kevin Correia, who moved across the clubhouse and is in between Jeff Karstens and Ross Ohlendorf. Paul was assigned No. 38, which was worn by Chris Leroux, Erik Kratz and Craig Hansen after Jason Bay was traded in 2008.

»»» Hurdle said the addition of Paul was in part sparked because “I wanted to restructure the bench.” Paul adds some much-needed speed and also is experienced in center field, which means Jose Tabata won’t be taxed when Andrew McCutchen needs a day off.

»»» Paul was claimed off waivers after being DFA’d by the Dodgers. “The past few days have been the longest week of my life,” Paul said. “I had that feeling of not knowing what to expect. But at the end, there was a feeling of excitement. I think it’s going to be fun to play here.” Paul is familiar with James McDonald (a former LA teammate) and has played against Wood since rookie ball.

Paul, 26, broke into the majors as a bench player, so he’s familiar with that role. “I played behind a lot of great players — Juan Pierre, Garrett Anderson, Manny Ramirez, Casey Blake. A lot of times, you learn more sitting on the bench than you do out on the field. I picked those guys’ brains a lot. Maybe some of these guys here who are younger than me, maybe we can help each other. Maybe they’ll ask me a few questions: ‘How was Manny when he did this?’ or ‘How was Pierre when he did that with his baserunning?’ Maybe I can bring a little positive attitude, baserunning, defense, hit a little bit. Whatever role they want me to play, that’s what I’m here to do.”

»»» The Dodgers’ ownership situation may seem chaotic from afar, but Paul said it is not affecting the players in LA. “Being in that clubhouse, from a player’s perspective, you’d never know that ownership stuff is going on,” Paul said. “I think you can tell from the way (Matt) Kemp and (Andre) Ethier are tearing it up. It’s not affecting them one way or the other. Of course, you hear about it all the time, but I don’t think it’s affecting anybody’s play. They’re just trying to win ballgames.”

»»» In nine day games so far this season, Neil Walker is batting .371 with two homers and eight RBI. McCutchen has hit .367 with two homers and six RBI in the eight day games in which he’s played.

Lineups for this afternoon’s game:

Giants (11-12) – 1. Aaron Rowand cf, 2. Emmanuel Burriss 2b, 3. Aubrey Huff 1b, 4. Pablo Sandoval 3b, 5. Pat Burrell lf, 6. Cody Ross lf, 7. Mike Fontenot ss, 8. Eli Whiteside c, 9. Ryan Vogelsong rhp (0-0, 0.00)

Pirates (11-13) – 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Jose Tabata lf, 3. Lyle Overbay 1b, 4. Neil Walker 2b, 5. Garrett Jones rf, 6. Ryan Doumit c, 7. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 8. Brandon Wood ss, 9. Jeff Karstens rhp (2-0, 3.94)