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Pregame: Cedeno, Pearce on mend


HOUSTON — Ronny Cedeno reported today to Triple-A Indy to begin a rehab assignment. Manager Clint Hurdle said that, if all goes well, there’s a chance Cedeno could be activated in time for this weekend’s series against the Cardinals. Concussions can by tricky things, so nothing is certain at this point, but Cedeno looked good the past couple of days working out with the Pirates. “He seemed alert. He seemed crisp,” Hurdle said.

»»» Shortstop Jordy Mercer went 3 for 3, including a home run, last night for Indy. However, he left the game after being hit in the head by a pitch — so the short-handed Indians were forced to have Steve Pearce, who started the game at third, fill in at short. In three rehab games with Indy, Pearce is hitting .357 (5 for 14), including a double and two homers. Hurdle said Pearce might be able to rejoin the Pirates later this week.

“As far as I know, (Mercer’s) status is uncertain at this time,” GM Neal Huntington told me via email. It’s interesting to not, thought, that infielder Josh Rodriguez today was promoted from Double-A Altoona to Indy.

»»» A solo homer in the fifth inning last night extended Neil Walker’s hitting streak to 10 games. It’s his longest streak since an 18-game run from Aug. 23-Sept. 12, 2010. Walker went 4 for 5, boosting his batting average eight points to .271. It was his third career four-hit game. In 11 games this season against the Astros, Walker is batting .442 (19 for 43) with two homers and eight RBI. In his career, he’s hitting .382 against Houston.

»»» Pirates pitchers have a 2.57 ERA against Houston this season. The starters’ combined ERA in those 11 games is 2.18.

»»» Astros closer Mark Melancon tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his seventh save. It was his first save since June 8 against St. Louis. Over the past nine games, the Astros’ bullpen has a 0.39 ERA.

Lineups for today’s game:

Pirates (48-44) – 1. Alex Presley lf, 2. Chase d’Arnaud ss, 3. Neil Walker 2b, 4. Andrew McCutchen cf, 5. Garrett Jones rf, 6. Lyle Overbay 1b, 7. Brandon Wood 3b, 8. Eric Fryer c, 9. Kevin Correia rhp (11-7, 4.01)

Astros (31-63) – 1. Michael Bourn cf, 2.Clint Barmes ss, 3. Jeff Keppinger 2b, 4. Hunter Pence rf, 5. Carlos Lee lf, 6. Chris Johnson 3b, 7. Brett Wallace 1b, 8. Carlos Corporan c, 9. Wandy Rodriguez lhp (6-6, 3.52)



  1. Chuck H. says:

    It will be nice to have Cedeno and Pearce available, but what is manager Hurdle
    thinking, putting Veras in to pitch with only a one run lead. He needs about a nine run lead, and then it wouldn’t be real safe. I said before that any pitcher. in relief, who walks the first batter he faces, is asking for trouble, and Veras does that a lot. Teach him to throw strikes. Isn’t Alex Prestley terrific so far? I think he will be staying for a long while..Go Bucs!!!

  2. chuck broad says:

    I am not so sure bringing guys back ..which means eliminating guys here when the team turned it around will help….ok if the returners are used as subs…but not as starters…

  3. joel says:

    When Tabata, Walker, and Pedro came up in midseason they all hitt pretty good except it took Pedro a little longer to get going. This year opposing pitchers found holes in Pedro and Tabata’s swing. Prestley would be my right fielder and I move Tabata to right and platoon with Jones.

    When I watch Pedro’s body language, it looks like he is not happy and can’t wait to be a Yankee. Walker and Hurdle better figure out how Walker is going to hit leftys.

  4. Paul says:

    I fully expect that the moment Steve Pearce appears on the roster the Pirates will begin their decline and eventual departure from contention. I can only scratch my head in bewilderment at the people who continue to talk about the Pirates’ success DESPITE some of the injuries apparently not having stopped to consider that maybe these guys, the ones who were on the roster when they set a record for loses, just aren’t that good and maybe the Pirates are winning BECAUSE they’re hurt and better players have replaced them.

    The first time I turn on a Pirates’s broadcast and Steve Pearce and Cedeno appear in the same lineup is probably the last time I turn on a Pirates’ broadcast this season. Sorry, but I saw that movie and know how it ends…

    Not interested.

  5. Jay G -Jacksonville via New Castle says:

    We lost 100+ games last year because our ERA was off the charts horrible….Not because Pearce/Cedeno were a part of our team…..We’ve won a bunch this year due to our very good pitching and very mediocre batting…..Pearce playing first base all year would have better than Overbay’s numbers…..Cedeno can hit better than .220….If his head is out in leftfield, Hurdle will sit him….Have faith that Hurdle knows more than we do…….

  6. Stephen in New York says:

    Jay G, you’re right on all points
    Go Bucs

  7. Paul says:

    We lost 100+ games because the opposition scored more runs than we did in more games … that’s a combination of poor pitching and poor offense. The pitching is greatly improved but the offense, especially the right handed lineup that faces left handed pitching, still needs work as it’s unreasonable to expect the starters to keep throwing shutouts like the did last night.

    The notion that Steve Pearce is in any way part of a solution to the problem is based on wishful thinking and nothing more. At 28 he’s not a prospect anymore and he’s had opportunities for five straight season to show he can hit major league pitching and failed miserably each time.

    As for having faith in Hurdle’s knowledge; every time I look at one of his picked from a hat lineups and see d’Arnaud, Paul or Harrison batting second and Neil Walker batting third and count the number of futile bunts he’s called for I’m reminded how little the guy knows. Sure he’s a vast improvement over the past several managers in several ways but his knowledge in somewhat lacking.

    Certainly Overbay and Diaz have been a huge disappointment but Pearce’s .721 OPS this season and his career .708 with few walks and no power to speak of are not an upgrade at first in any meaningful way. 9 home runs and a .392 slugging average in nearly 500 plate appearances are not the numbers of playoff bound team’s first baseman… not ever.

  8. Paul says:

    Oh and let me go on record with this; absent a trade to bolster the offense elsewhere, if Steve Pearce is activated on Friday and gets any significant playing time as a stater the Pirates will be out of contention by the trade deadline.

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