Pirates Notebook: Torres' delay might push him beyond break

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Thursday's results

INDIANAPOLIS (43-29) lost to Pawtucket, 9-4. LHP Shane Youman (3-6, 5.11) allowed eight runs and nine hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked one. LF Michael Ryan (.236) hit his fourth home run and went 2 for 4.

ALTOONA (34-35) was swept in a doubleheader at Erie, 12-3 and 2-1. In the first game, RHP Kip Bouknight (7-3, 3.99) allowed seven runs in two innings. In the second game, RHP Justin Vaclavik (2-5, 8.90) allowed one run in 2 2/3 innings. For the day, 3B Neil Walker (.317) went 2 for 4 with a double and two walks. 1B Steve Pearce (.314) went 2 for 5 with a double. CF Andrew McCutchen (.227) went 1 for 6.

LYNCHBURG (29-39) lost to Kinston, 10-4. RHP Clayton Hamilton (2-5, 6.04) lasted two-thirds of an inning and allowed three runs. LF Jamie Romak (.236) had a double and two walks.

HICKORY (27-41) lost to Greenville, 12-3. RHP Jared Hughes (6-5, 3.00) allowed seven runs, six earned, in three innings. CF Alex Presley (.284) hit his fourth home run and went 2 for 4.

STATE COLLEGE (2-2) split a doubleheader at Williamsport, winning, 5-2, and losing, 3-2. In the first game, RHP Basilio Alvarez (0-0, 9.00) allowed two runs in two innings. In the nightcap, RHP Anthony Watson (1-0, 0.00), the Pirates' ninth-round draft pick this month, pitched five shutout innings, striking out nine. For the day, RF Erik Huber (.545), the Pirates' 12th-round pick, went 5 for 7 with two doubles and a walk.

BRADENTON (1-2) lost to the Red Sox, 4-3. RHP Francisco Ortiz (0-1, 3.00) allowed three runs in six innings. 2B Dan Bomback (.667), the Pirates' 42nd-round pick, went 2 for 3 with a double, a walk and an RBI.

SEATTLE -- Salomon Torres' return to the Pirates' bullpen will take longer than expected, perhaps beyond the All-Star break.

Torres, placed on the 15-day disabled list June 9 because of a severely inflamed ligament in his right elbow, had been scheduled to begin a throwing program Wednesday in Bradenton, Fla. But continuing pain in the elbow has prompted him to push that back to early next week.

There has been no setback medically, and Torres yesterday described the pain as "little," adding, "I am getting better."

Even if that throwing program were to begin Monday, though, Torres would need a week or more to finish that, then a minor-league rehabilitation stint that almost surely would carry through the July 9-11 All-Star break.

Kolb out, Eldred up

The Pirates designated reliever Dan Kolb for assignment immediately after the 3-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners last night and promoted first baseman/outfielder Brad Eldred from Class AAA Indianapolis.

Kolb gave up six hits in three innings and had a 9.00 ERA after his promotion last week. The Pirates have 10 days to trade, release or outright him. But, given that no room needed to be created on the 40-man roster to move him, a release seems most likely.

Eldred will be up for a second tour. Since being demoted to Indianapolis last month, he batted .212 with six home runs and 14 RBIs in 22 games.

The 25-man roster will be full again today when closer Matt Capps' three-game suspension ends.

A halo of a task

The Pirates might not see an opponent all season as formidable as the Los Angeles Angels, who they will face tonight in Anaheim, Calif.

The Angels' 46-27 record is second best in Major League Baseball, as well as the best start in franchise history. They have won six of their past eight games, have taken eight consecutive series and are 13-5 this month.

Their success is no secret: The offense, led by Vladimir Guerrero's 13 home runs, has a .288 team average that ranks second in the majors.

The pitching staff, led by 10-4 John Lackey, has a 3.90 ERA that ranks seventh. Even the base-running stands out, their 69 steals ranking second.

"That's a really good ballclub," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said, intimately familiar with the Angels from his Los Angeles days.

"They play an extremely aggressive style of baseball, and they've got the weapons to do it. And their pitching, the bullpen, their fielding ... solid club."

Pearce, Linares in Futures

First baseman Steve Pearce and starter Serguey Linares will represent the Pirates in the 2007 Futures Game July 8 in San Francisco, part of MLB's All-Star weekend.

Pearce, 24, the Pirates' eighth-round pick in the 2005 draft, has had a monster year with Class A Lynchburg and Class AA Altoona. Combined, he has 20 home runs, 20 doubles, a .322 average and 63 RBIs.

Linares, 24, signed as a Cuban defector in the offseason, is 2-3 with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts between Class A Hickory and Lynchburg.

Indianapolis manager Trent Jewett will be a coach in the game.

Buried treasure

Ian Snell had no trouble with his burned finger in making his regularly scheduled side session yesterday, and he will start tomorrow.

Center fielder Chris Duffy will run again today to test his tight right hamstring, but it seems unlikely he will start until next week.

Freddy Sanchez served as designated hitter last night, largely to get Jose Castillo playing time, Tracy said. Castillo started at second base.

The rotation for the series next week in Florida: Paul Maholm, John Van Benschoten and Zach Duke. That will give Tom Gorzelanny, who has had some high pitch counts lately, five days between starts.


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