Pirates Notebook: Entire staff invited to return

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MILWAUKEE -- The Pirates have asked manager John Russell's entire coaching staff to return.

General manager Neal Huntington, who expressed his satisfaction with the staff in an interview with the Post-Gazette last week, began meeting individually with coaches in Russell's office yesterday at Miller Park. Some, notably pitching coach Joe Kerrigan and infield instructor Perry Hill, already had club options for 2010. The rest are believed to have been on one-year terms.

It is not yet clear if Hill, in particular, will choose to return to the Pirates, but management hopes he does.

No one involved commented.

Dumatrait out of start

Phil Dumatrait will not start the first game of the day-night doubleheader tomorrow in Cincinnati, as he was summoned in relief last night.

That ensures the Pirates will turn to someone from the minor leagues -- most likely Virgil Vasquez or Eric Hacker -- to make a cameo start.

Paul Maholm will start the nightcap.

Bautista a big zero

Denny Bautista had a 4.88 ERA in Class AAA Indianapolis' bullpen, but he has yet to allow a run in four innings of relief with the Pirates.

The key: Throw the ball straight.

"It's all about the straight line," Bautista said. "Joe Kerrigan's been talking to me a lot. My fastball moves, anyway, so I just throw it straight, and it's still good."

Buried treasure

• Third base prospect Neil Walker, continuing his strong push for a September callup Tuesday, homered twice for Indianapolis last night in Toledo, giving him 14 total and raising his average to .269.

• Pitcher Jose Ascanio (shoulder) had his expected tossing session yesterday and will have another today. Manager John Russell said Ascanio's return likely would happen only in the bullpen this year.

• Shortstop Ronny Cedeno (finger) should be in the lineup today, Russell said.

• The Pirates need three home runs to reach 10,000 in franchise history, according to baseball historian John Dreker. The first was hit May 2, 1887, by Fred Carroll against the Detroit Wolverines. The pitcher's name: Lady Baldwin. Dreker says players who did not drink or swear in that time often were nicknamed "Lady."

Catch more on the Pirates at the PG's PBC Blog . Dejan Kovacevic can be reached at dkovacevic@post-gazette.com .


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