Pirates' Hurdle won't speculate on injuries

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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- The Pirates suffered two key injuries Friday less than an inning apart.

Center fielder Andrew McCutchen left the Grapefruit League game against the Tampa Bay Rays after two innings with an injured left wrist.

And right-handed starter James McDonald departed in the bottom of the third with discomfort in his left side.

McCutchen is considered by many to be the best all-around player on the team; McDonald was expected to be the Pirates' No. 3 starter.

Both returned to Bradenton and were to be re-evaluated later Friday. The Pirates said they would have an update today on the condition of both players.

After the Pirates rallied for an 8-7 victory against the Rays, manager Clint Hurdle said he "didn't know" the severity of the injuries to McCutchen and McDonald.

"One thing I just want to be up front with is, I don't talk about injuries," he said. "We usually make a statement. ... I'm not a doctor. Normally, the information doesn't get accurate until later on. So the reason being [potential] misinformation, I just say that we'll make a comment later."

Pirates spokesman Jim Trdinich said team president Frank Coonelly wouldn't comment on the injuries, although Coonelly attended the game at Charlotte Sports Park.

McCutchen, a former first-round draft pick, was 2 for 2 with a run and an RBI against the Rays. He is batting .280 this spring. McDonald, making his third start of the spring, allowed four hits and two runs (one earned) in two-plus innings. He walked two.

Hurdle declined to speculate on how it might hurt the team if McCutchen and McDonald were to miss an extended period of time.

"I'm not going to answer that," he said. "You guys [the media} speculate. I don't speculate."

McDonald surrendered consecutive hits to Sean Rodriguez and Casey Kotchman to start the third. McDonald had a 2-2 count on Rays catcher Kelly Shoppach when he started to grab his left side.

After consulting with pitching coach Ray Searage, trainer Brad Henderson and Hurdle, McDonald and Henderson walked off the field to the clubhouse.

McDonald, whom the Pirates acquired in July from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the deal involving closer Octavio Dotel, has a 4.05 ERA this spring. McDonald was supposed to pitch four innings Friday.

"He was disappointed he had to leave," Hurdle said. "We want him to get in that rhythm, where he's aggressive, like we saw last time out, establishing the fastball, then using the curveball and maybe mix in some changeups."

In other injury-related news, catcher/outfielder Ryan Doumit didn't make the trip after he tweaked his right oblique two days ago in a batting practice session, although the team didn't announce it until Thursday.

Doumit, who has been on the trading block this spring with a salary of $5.1 million, said his injury is not serious.

"It feels like a bee sting," he said.

The Pirates say Doumit will be re-examined again Wednesday and will be unavailable for game activity until further notice.

"I'm hoping the next couple of days I will get back out there," Doumit said.

Left-handed pitcher Scott Olsen, expected to compete for the No. 5 spot in the starting rotation, completed his second batting practice session Friday morning at Pirate City without issue. But he has yet to pitch in a game this spring.

And left-handed reliever Joe Beimel (sore forearm) threw about 30 pitches in batting practice Friday at McKechnie Field. He is expected to make his spring training debut Monday against the Baltimore Orioles in Sarasota.

Buried treasure

• Left-hander Bryan Burres, who entered the game in place of McDonald, kept his scoreless streak intact. He has allowed just five hits in nine innings of work this spring. He has five strikeouts and four walks, which all came against the Rays.

• Third baseman Pedro Alvarez continued his hot spring, going 1 for 3 with an RBI double. He is batting .310.

• The Pirates will play split-squad games today. Ross Ohlendorf will pitch the first four innings against the Philadelphia Phillies in Bradenton. He will be followed by Jose Veras (one or two innings), Aaron Thompson (two) and Tyler Yates (one). Jeff Locke will pitch the first two innings of the other game against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin. Also expected to pitch are Sean Gallagher (two or three), Daniel McCutchen (two), Ramon Aguero (one) and Mike Crotta (two or three).

Ron Musselman: rmusselman@post-gazette.com . First Published March 12, 2011 5:00 AM


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