Pirates Notebook: Hello, goodbye, and who's next?

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Even operating at a move-a-day pace, the Pirates' pitching picture remains unclear.

With Jimmy Barthmaier optioned right back to Class AAA Indianapolis after his poor debut last night in the 10-5 loss to Tampa Bay, the team formally announced the promotion of Ty Taubenheim, who will face the Rays tonight.

For one start?

Hard to tell.

Minor-league report
Friday's games
  • INDIANAPOLIS (40-42) won at Columbus, 5-2. RHP Yoslan Herrera (1-0, 2.57), making his Class AAA debut, allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings. He struck out six, walked one and threw 61 of 85 pitches for strikes. SS Brian Bixler (.271) went 3 for 5 with a double, a triple and a steal. 3B Neil Walker (.224) went 2 for 4 with a double, a sacrifice fly and two RBIs. C Andrew McCutchen (.284) went 2 for 4 with a walk and two RBIs. RF Steve Pearce (.265) went 1 for 5 with an RBI.
  • ALTOONA (33-44) was rained out at Bowie.
  • LYNCHBURG (32-46) lost to Winston Salem, 6-1. LHP Brian Holliday (1-8, 6.43) allowed three runs and three hits in 52/3 innings. CF Alex Presley (.250) went 2 for 4 with two doubles.
  • HICKORY (33-45) and Augusta were rained out.
  • STATE COLLEGE (2-7) lost at Auburn, 7-1. RHP Ramon Aguero (0-2, 10.29) allowed two runs and three hits in four innings. 3B Matt Payne (.368) went 2 for 3 with a walk
  • BRADENTON (4-3) beat the Orioles, 9-5. LHP Nelson Pereira (1-0, 3.86) allowed one run and four hits in four innings. C Miguel Mendez (.632), a 20-year-old international signing out of the Dominican Republic, hit his third home run and went 3 for 3 with two walks and two RBIs.

The original plan called for Barthmaier to make one more start Wednesday in Cincinnati, but that was conditional upon his pitching well, which did not happen. So, Paul Maholm will be bumped up to Monday because of his rain-shortened outing two nights ago, Zach Duke will pitch Tuesday and Wednesday will remain up in the air.

"Looking too far ahead," manager John Russell said last night.

One candidate to make that Wednesday start is Yoslan Herrera, who was promoted from Class AA Altoona to Indianapolis to fill in for Barthmaier and did well, limiting Columbus to two runs over seven innings while striking out six and walking one. He had been Altoona's best pitcher all season, and he was seen as having good pedigree when the Pirates' previous management signed him to a major league contract two years ago.

Further complicating roster issues is the uncertain status of two relievers.

One is Franquelis Osoria, who was revealed yesterday to have a strained Achilles tendon. It is not known how much time he will miss, but he was unavailable last night.

Another, of course, is Denny Bautista, who was struck on the forearm by a line drive last night.

Nady pinch-hits

One day after being back in the lineup for the first time since June 14, right fielder Xavier Nady was out again last night because of lingering pain in the bruised left shoulder.

He again took a full batting practice yesterday, then drew a pinch-hit walk without taking a swing.

He could return tonight, but Russell made no promise.

"He's still a little sore," Russell said. "We want him to be able to tolerate it before we go running him out there every day."

Although the game in which Nady appeared Thursday does not count because it was rained out, it counts against the Pirates' ability to backdate any placement on the disabled list.

Duffy progressing

It was exactly one year ago yesterday that center fielder Chris Duffy's left ankle was injured while chasing down a fly ball in Miami, and that, coupled with August surgery on his left shoulder, has kept him out of a Pirates uniform since then.

Duffy is performing well in his rehabilitation stint with Class AA Altoona: In his first 11 games, he is batting .333 --11 for 33 -- with four doubles, a home run and a steal. More important, given that he has been able to swing a bat since January, his arm has given him no trouble in the field.

The next step will depend on his health and performance. It is likely he will make a stop in Indianapolis before returning to Pittsburgh, as management wants to see him face advanced pitching after an 11-month layoff, but no firm decision or timetable has been set.

Buried treasure

• Because of the rainout Thursday, the series with the New York Yankees officially is recorded as two games. That means no three-game series attendance record can be broken when the postponed game is made up July 10. The 77,819 who attended Tuesday and Wednesday represent a record for a two-game series.

Matt Wieters, the catching prospect the Pirates' previous management bypassed in the draft last year, was promoted by the Baltimore Orioles from Class A to Class AA Bowie yesterday ... in time to face Altoona. Alas, the teams were rained out.

Brian Friday, the shortstop at Class A Lynchburg and one of the Pirates' top defensive prospects, was placed on the minor league disabled list because of back pain.


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