Pirates Notebook: Ongoing trade deadline talks get Bay's attention

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Jason Bay walked through the Pirates' clubhouse yesterday sporting a two-day growth of whiskers.

Baseball's version of hockey's playoff beard? The trading deadline beard?

"No," Bay said, with a laugh. "I was going to shave [Tuesday] night, but I forgot."

The Pirates' left fielder was being discussed in trade talks yesterday. The Tampa Bay Rays were interested. The St. Louis Cardinals, too.

"When your name's in the mix, [this time] is a little more interesting," Bay said. "If I were to be traded, more than likely it would be to a team that has a good chance of making the playoffs. It would be tough to leave here, but I've been traded before."

Minor-league report
Wednesday's results

INDIANAPOLIS (52-60) ) won at Toledo, 2-1. LHP Tom Gorzelanny (2-1, 2.76) allowed one run and three hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five, walked none and threw 47 of 79 pitches for strikes. RHP Jesse Chavez (3.60) pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief and allowed two hits for his ninth save. He struck out three. LF Nyjer Morgan (.276) went 2 for 4. CF Andrew McCutchen (.276) went 1 for 4. 3B Neil Walker (.235) went 0 for 4.

ALTOONA (51-60) lost at Trenton, 6-3. LHP Kyle Bloom (2-6, 4.30) allowed four runs, three earned, and three hits in three innings. RHP Pat Bresneham (4.23) pitched three scoreless, hitless innings of relief. 3B Jim Negrych (.556) went 3 for 5 and committed two errors. SS Angel Gonzalez (.394) went 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI.

LYNCHBURG (46-63) lost at Winston Salem, 5-3. LHP Tony Watson (6-10, 3.56) allowed one run and six hits in six innings. DH Kris Watts (.324) went 2 for 4.

HICKORY (44-65) ) lost at Savannah, 7-6. LHP Mike Felix (4-4, 4.00) allowed one run and four hits in four innings. SS Jordy Mercer (.209) went 1 for 3 with a walk, an RBI and a steal.

STATE COLLEGE (9-30) lost to Mahoning Valley, 7-6. RHP Brian Leach (1-0, 3.82) allowed one run and two hits in four innings. 2B Andy Vazquez (.259) hit his first home run, a three-run shot, and went 2 for 4 with four RBIs.

BRADENTON (20-13) was off.

Bay didn't know if he would play a full nine innings last night.

"I'll be like the weather man -- 50-50," he said.

Karstens to start tomorrow

Manager John Russell confirmed that right-hander Jeff Karstens will make his Pirates debut tomorrow against the Chicago Cubs.

Karstens, 25, acquired from the New York Yankees Saturday, was 3-5 with a 5.65 earned run average in 15 appearances with the Yankees in 2006-07.

"He's a strike-thrower," Russell said. "He has a couple different breaking balls, a nice changeup. He's always been able to command the ball. His first start for us, I'm not expecting him to go out and throw eight shutout innings. I'll be looking for the action on his pitches, how he competes, his mound presence, things like that."

He sings, too

Third base coach Tony Beasley sang the national anthem before the game last night.

Beasley, a tenor, said he sang the national anthem "six or seven times" before minor league games -- including before the championship game in the Arizona Fall League in 2004 --but never had sung the anthem before a major league game. Was he nervous?

"A little bit. I've always been nervous. If I wasn't nervous, I'd be concerned."

Russell said he'd heard Beasley practicing. "He has a nice voice," Russell said.

Cruz promoted despite errors

It kind of got lost in the player shuffling Tuesday, but shortstop Luis Cruz was promoted from Class AA Altoona to Class AAA Indianapolis.

One reason for the move was Brian Bixler's promotion from Indianapolis to the Pirates Tuesday.

"He's good," said Rich Donnelly, the Pirates' player development adviser. "He has great hands -- one of the best pair of hands I've ever seen. He has things you can't teach."

Cruz, 24, signed with the Pirates as a minor league free agent in December after playing in the Boston and San Diego organizations for a total of seven seasons. Working closely with Curve hitting coach Brandon Moore, Cruz batted .264 with 24 doubles, 6 home runs and a team-leading 46 RBIs in 105 games with Altoona. He also had a team-high 21 errors, many of them careless.

"Those are correctable," Donnelly said. "This guy, I think, has a big league glove. I'm anxious to see what he does in Class AAA."

Buried treasure

• Yoslan Herrera, who has a 9.00 ERA in his four starts for the Pirates, remains in the rotation "for the time being," according to Russell.

• Phil Dumatrait, on the disabled list with bursitis in his left shoulder, has begun light throwing in Bradenton, Fla., but he is a long way from rejoining the Pirates' rotation. Look for him to return to PNC Park in early September.


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