Pirates Notebook: Injury forces changes in rotation

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CINCINNATI -- The Pirates have altered their pitching plans again because Tom Gorzelanny is experiencing some stiffness in his left elbow.

Gorzelanny, who was scheduled to start tonight in Atlanta, will be pushed back until Thursday when the Pirates play Houston at PNC Park.

Zach Duke will start tonight, with Shawn Chacon, who was scheduled to work out of the bullpen, taking the start tomorrow night. Ian Snell, as scheduled, will start Wednesday night.

Gorzelanny, who has pitched 1451/3 innings this season counting his innings for Class AAA Indianapolis, reported the stiffness after his seven-inning stint against Milwaukee Tuesday night.

"The next day, he felt better," manager Jim Tracy said. "He threw a bullpen [Saturday] and was a little bit stiff, but he loosened up. However, due to his past history, we're erring on the side of caution."

Last season, Gorzelanny spent April in extended spring training because of left-elbow discomfort.

"It's not a setback," Gorzelanny said. "It's normal. It's late in the season. It just took me a little longer to get loose."

"This is a little glitch," Tracy emphasized. "It's not like it's a red flag. The bottom line is, we're going to take care of these [young] guys. They're in water they haven't been in before."

This is not -- apparently -- the start of the Pirates' going to a six-man rotation.

"Let's not assume that," Tracy said, heading off further questions on that subject.

Paul Maholm is scheduled to start Friday night's game against Houston.

That could mean Victor Santos would start Saturday night's game. And that would be six different starters this week.

"Let's don't go past Friday," Tracy said.

The Pirates had planned to work on Chacon's mechanics while he pitched out of the bullpen. What about that plan now?

"We've spent a little time doing it," said Tracy, indicating the Pirates will revisit the Chacon/mechanics project.

Duke a leader in the stable

Duke doesn't mind having his start rescheduled.

"I'm fine with it," he said. "It's on normal [four days] rest."

"He's really looking forward to doing this," Tracy said. "He's really beginning to grasp an understanding of being a horse in the front part of the stable."

Doumit in Altoona

Ryan Doumit, rehabbing a torn left hamstring, reported to Class AA Altoona yesterday.

A Snell extra

Snell got his first major-league extra-base hit here Friday night, doubling down the right-field line in the seventh inning.

Not that it was a real big deal.

"Right now, I don't pride myself on trying to get hits," Snell said. "I just want to worry about getting a bunt down. You have to learn how to handle the bat. If you can't, it can cost you a game."

Rest is good

Jason Bay, whose consecutive-game playing streak ended at 307 last Monday, thinks long playing streaks might become things of the past.

"I think people are realizing that over the course of a long season [taking off] a game or two or three or four goes a long way in kind of maintaining health and energy," Bay said. "It is a long season and you're playing in the middle of the summer."

Popular mechanics

Josh Sharpless, on the disabled list because of a right-ankle sprain, is eligible to be activated next weekend. But it's more likely he won't be activated until Sept. 1 when rosters can be expanded.

"I've heard that," Sharpless said. "I'll have a few extra days to work on my mechanics."

No. 2 pick is No. 1

Brad Corley, the Pirates' second-round pick behind Andrew McCutchen in the 2005 draft, leads the South Atlantic League with 89 RBIs (through Saturday). Corley, an outfielder out of Mississippi State, has a .288 batting average, 29 doubles and 15 home runs in 486 at-bats.

"He's strong, and the hitting instincts are there," said Pirates hitting coach Jeff Manto, who last year was the Pirates' roving minor-league hitting instructor. "And now he's learning the other side of hitting -- the mental side of hitting."

Sunday's results

INDIANAPOLIS (70-59) beat Richmond, 2-1, on a bases-loaded single by 2B Craig Stansberry (.225) in the bottom of the ninth. He went 2 for 4 with a double. RHP Ryan Vogelsong (2-5, 2.43) allowed one run and five hits in seven innings. He struck out four, walked one, hit two batters and threw 57 of 87 pitches for strikes. RHP Scott Strickland (2.14) pitched two scoreless innings.

ALTOONA (70-54) split a doubleheader with Harrisburg, winning, 8-5, and losing, 7-4. In the completion of a game suspended Saturday, RHP Blaine Neal (2-0, 1.62) pitched two scoreless innings of relief for the victory. In the nightcap, RHP Wardell Starling (4-4, 2.75) allowed six runs, one earned, in five innings. For the day, LF Andrew McCutchen (.333) went 2 for 7 with his second home run, a walk and two RBIs. C Neil Walker (.200) went 1 for 3. C Ryan Doumit (.000), making his first Class AAA rehabilitation start, went 0 for 2 and was hit by a pitch.

LYNCHBURG (54-71) won at Wilmington, 4-2. LHP Kyle Bloom (6-8, 4.46) allowed two runs in five innings. RHP Ramon Linares (4.74) pitched four scoreless, hitless innings for his second save.

HICKORY (62-63) beat Greensboro, 4-3. RHP Mike Crotta (1-0, 5.56) allowed one run in seven innings.

WILLIAMSPORT (21-35) beat Jamestown, 2-1. RHP Henry Cabrera (5-1, 2.91) allowed one run in six innings. LF Alex Presley (.247) went 3 for 3 with a double and an RBI.



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