Hughes demoted, but likely will return soon


Reliever Juan Cruz was activated from the disabled list and Jared Hughes was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Despite a recent rough patch, Hughes basically got caught in a numbers crunch — somebody had to go. LHP Jeff Locke might be been the odd man out, but the Pirates need depth in the bullpen over the next few days, with Erik Bedard going today and a challenging stretch ahead against the Dodgers.

Hughes tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings Saturday, but gave up five earned runs in 1 2/3 innings over his previous two outings. “I made the adjustments I needed to yesterday and pitched well,” Hughes said. “I made the adjustments to where I think I can just continue doing that for the next few weeks, go down there, stay positive and earn another callup.”

Players who are added to the active roster after the end of this month are not eligible for the playoffs. So, it’s a good bet Hughes will be back in Pittsburgh sometime in the next couple of weeks. “If you want to stay, pitch better,” Hughes said. “I’ve got to go down, stay positive and pitch better. Right now, it’s the way it’s going to have to be with the numbers. There’s no sense in getting upset. I’ll do my work and come back.”

»»» Manager Clint Hurdle said OF Travis Snider (tight hammy) “feels better” today and probably will be available off the bench today.

»»» The opposing team has scored at least one run in the first inning in each of the past five games and has homered in three straight first innings. In the opening frame this year, the Pirates have been outscored 77-56 and have allowed 21 home runs.

»»» The Padres have won 11 consecutive games at PNC Park. The last time the Pirates beat the Pads on the North Shore was Sept. 18, 2009. Overall, the Pirates are 9-28 at home against San Diego and have never won a series against the Padres at PNC Park.

Game 114: Padres @ Pirates, 1:35 p.m. ET

Padres (51-64): 1. Chris Denorfia lf, 2. Logan Forsythe 2b, 3. Chase Headley 3b, 4. Carlos Quentin rf, 5. Jesus Guzman 1b, 6. Cameron Maybin cf, 7. Everth Cabrera ss, 8. Nick Hundley c, 9. Ross Ohlendorf rhp (4-2, 5.61)

Pirates (63-50): 1. Starling Marte lf, 2. Neil Walker 2b, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Garrett Jones rf, 5. Gaby Sanchez 1b, 6. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 7. Michael McKenry c, 8. Clint Barmes ss, 9. Erik Bedard lhp (6-12, 4.53)