Joe Randa spent all or parts of eight seasons with the Kansas City Royals.
Tonight could mark the beginning of his final return to Kauffman Stadium when the Pirates start a three-game series against the Royals.
"I put my heart and soul into that organization," said Randa, who was drafted by the Royals in the 11th round in 1991. "It will be nice going back. I wish I was going back on different terms -- being an everyday player. Hopefully, I'll get into one or two games. But Kauffman Stadium will always be special for me."
Randa will turn 37 this winter, so it's possible his career is winding down. There might not be any more visits to Kauffman after this season.
The Royals seem headed for another 100-loss season.
"There's been a lot of transition -- different managers and now a different front office, and I think when there are a lot of changes you have different direction all the time," Randa said. "When I played there, I always felt like the leader of the ship or the top dog is the owner. One year we'd add to the payroll, next year they'd take away.
"When you play there a long time and go through all the different directions, you get frustrated. There's a lot of frustration.
"On the other hand, you just hope that eventually it gets in the right direction. That a new general manager [Dayton Moore] can bring new life to a situation that seems hopeless right now."
First baseman Sean Casey had a red welt just above his right elbow yesterday. He was hit there by a 3-2 pitch from Randy Choate in the seventh inning but stayed in the game.
"It's killing me," Casey said after the game before going to get treatment.
Casey said he expects to play tonight.
Bad fourth for Duke
Pirates starter Zach Duke zipped through the first three innings, allowing two hits but getting two double plays. He threw only 27 pitches.
But he threw 37 pitches in Arizona's four-run fourth inning.
"He was brilliant in the first three innings," manager Jim Tracy said. "In the fourth, his mechanics went off-kilter just a little bit."
Victor Santos, thought to have just a blister and a cracked fingernail on the middle finger of his right hand after a start Thursday, is on the disabled list because of a strained right rotator cuff.
Santos said his shoulder was injured during Thursday's game.
"It must have been [because of] throwing with the blister," Santos said. "I think I may have changed my mechanics a little bit. I just felt a little something get tight back there.
"We knew I had some soreness in my shoulder. We expected it to go away in two days. It just didn't."
Santos is headed for Bradenton, Fla., to do some rehabilitation "for a few days."
Less than advertised
Yesterday's attendance of 15,032 includes tickets sold for the May 11 date against Arizona that was rained out. Perhaps as many as 5,000 people actually occupied seats yesterday.
The Pirates announced the signing of their 33rd-round draft pick, shortstop Victor Alvarez of Cumberland University in Tennessee.
The Pirates have promoted right-handed pitcher Wardell Starling from Class A Lynchburg to Class AA Altoona. Starling, the Pirates' fourth-round pick in the 2002 draft, was 4-4 with a 3.18 earned run average for Lynchburg.
The Pirates also have sent right-hander Landon Jacobsen back to Altoona from Class AAA Indianapolis and promoted left-hander Michael Connolly from Altoona to Indianapolis.
INDIANAPOLIS (38-32) won at Buffalo, 6-4. LHP Tom Gorzelanny (5-5, 2.53) allowed two runs, one earned, and three hits in six innings. He struck out three, walked two and threw 52 of 87 pitches for strikes. RHP Jonah Bayliss (1.93) allowed an unearned run in one inning of relief. C Carlos Maldonado (.302) went 3 for 4 with two RBIs. RF Adam Boeve (.269) had a two-run double in four at-bats.
ALTOONA (41-27) was off.
LYNCHBURG (34-36) was off.
HICKORY (33-36) was off.
WILLIAMSPORT opens its New York-Penn League season tonight against State College.
BRADENTON opens its Gulf Coast League season today against the Red Sox.