By Chris Adamski
NORTH SHORE – Clint Hurdle
might have been was kidding. But even if he wasn’t, could you blame him?
“To make sure I don’t pitch him,” Hurdle said in a deadpan manner that left the assembled media chucking. “Just to play it safe. You look down at that guy, and you’re thinking, ‘Ehhhhhhh?’”
Rivero pitched Friday and Saturday, going 1 2/3 innings the latter evening – 10 batters and 37 pitches in all.
Twice early in the season, Rivero worked three consecutive days. But one of those stretches included a total of 34 pitches; another a total of two innings pitched.
Compounding the matter for Hurdle and the Pirates on Sunday is that the availability of Juan Nicasio was in question. Nicasio was shut down Saturday after he experienced “fatigue” in his fantastical blown save Friday night.
Hurdle said Nicasio’s status wasn’t to be determined until pitching coach Ray Searage had a chance to work with him in a flat-ground throwing session Sunday.
Stew is back:
I can’t speak for my colleagues, but twice on this Father’s Day morning in the Pirates clubhouse I was left chuckling at something that I assumed was a joke but was, perhaps, true. In the case of what Chris Stewart said, it absolutely was.
Stewart (left hamstring strain) was activated off the disabled list Sunday morning. His stint on the DL was entirely due to trouble running the bases (he was able to catch and throw and hit), and it began as the result of the 35-year-old legging out a triple.
“We’ve shut down the triples. Eliminated that one,” Stewart said.
“I’m aware that there’s going to be a big stop sign out there at second base, so I need to stay there from now on.”
I laughed. But then a few minutes later, in Hurdle’s office…
“He’s actually the first player that… I have ever had that triples are off the board,” the manager said. “We felt we had fun with him: if he chose to go play any games or do any of that that he’d have to hit a triple before he could come back. We thought that would absolutely lock him up.
“But he took (triples) off the docket.”
While Jacob Stallings went optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis, the move still leaves three catchers on the 25-man roster (starter Francisco Cervelli and rookie Elias Diaz).
Put simply, Diaz (reached base in nine of his 10 starts; .378 average) is too hot to send down. So for now, the Pirates have three catchers.
“It won’t be for a long period of time,” Hurdle said, “unless something drastic happens and something changes.
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“There was a lot of emotion going into that game. I feel like it was one of the best games I’ve played here in Pittsburgh.”
“It’s very frustrating. I know that, hitting in the middle of the lineup, I need to produce.”
>>> Sunday’s game: Cubs at Pirates, 1:35 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM
Cubs: Anthony Rizzo 3, Ian Happ 4, Wilson Contreras 2, Jason Heyward 9, Albert Amora Jr 8, Tommy La Stella 5, Javier Baez 6, John Lackey RHP (4-7, 5.26), Jon Jay 7
Pirates: Adam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, Gregory Polanco 9, David Freese 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Elas Diaz 2, Jordy Mercer 6, RHP Jameson Taillon (3-1, 2.90)
Gamecast: In his last start, Lackey gave up four runs, all via homers, and took the loss vs. the Mets. Over his past five starts, he is 0-4 with a 6.75 ERA. … Lackey is allowing 2.27 home runs per nine innings, which is more than double his career rate (0.98 HR/9). He has served up 19 homers in 75 1⁄3 IP. Last year, Lackey allowed 23 home runs in 188 1⁄3 IP. … It’s been 364 days since Cubs C Willson Contreras got his first at-bat in the majors and smacked a first-pitch homer off Pirates reliever A.J. Schugel at Wrigley Field. … Last Tuesday and Wednesday, Anthony Rizzo became the first Cub since at least 1920 to hit a leadoff homer in each of his first two games batting leadoff. … Taillon is 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA in three career starts vs. the Cubs.
>>> Monday’s game: Pirates at Brewers, 7:40 p.m., Miller Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Gerrit Cole (4-6, 4.54 ERA)
Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Matt Garza (3-2, 4.17 ERA)
>>> Tuesday’s game: Pirates at Brewers, 7:40 p.m., Miller Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Chad Kuhl (1-6, 5.61 ERA)
Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Zach Davies (7-3, 4.91 ERA)
>>> Wednesday’s game: Pirates at Brewers, 7:40 p.m., Miller Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Trevor Williams (3-3, 5.16 ERA)
Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Junior Guerra (1-1, 2.84 ERA)
>>> Thursday’s game: Pirates at Brewers, 2:10 p.m., Miller Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Ivan Nova (7-4, 2.91 ERA)
Brewers: Lineup TBA. RHP Chase Anderson (5-2, 2.92 ERA)
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.