CINCINNATI -- Josh Sharpless and three of his Indianapolis teammates were playing cards in his hotel room in Scranton early yesterday morning.
INDIANAPOLIS (28-20) lost at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 8-5. LHP Shane Youman (1-4, 4.96) allowed three runs and 11 hits in five innings. RHP Jesse Chavez (4.94) blew a save and allowed four runs in an inning of relief. LF Michael Ryan (.247) went 2 for 4 to extend a 10-game hitting streak and threw out a runner at home.
ALTOONA (20-26) won at Bowie, 7-6, to end a 10-game losing streak. RHP Yoslan Herrera (0-4, 5.91) allowed four runs and eight hits in 41/3 innings. RHP Romulo Sanchez (1.91) pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save. 3B Neil Walker (.277) homered twice to take the team lead with eight and went 2 for 5 with four RBIs. CF Andrew McCutchen (.218) went 3 for 5 with a walk, a steal and a run.
LYNCHBURG (23-23) beat Potomac, 5-4. RHP Clayton Hamilton (2-2, 5.55) allowed four runs in 52/3 innings. CF Pedro Powell (.270) went 2 for 3.
HICKORY (20-27) beat Asheville, 8-6. RHP Brad Clapp (3-6, 7.88) allowed five runs in 31/3 innings. C Francis Poni (.345) hit his fourth home run, 3B Eddie Prasch (.232) his third. Each went 2 for 4 with two RBIs.
Fittingly, the card game is named "Pluck."
That's because during the card game, Sharpless learned he had been "plucked" by the Pirates.
Sharpless, a right-hander from Freedom, yesterday joined the Pirates, who sent right-hander Brian Rogers to Indianapolis.
Sharpless and his mates watched the Pirates on television Saturday night and saw Rogers allow home runs to Edwin Encarnacion and Alex Gonzalez.
"A bad outing," Sharpless said. "That happens. It happens to the best. I didn't think anything was going to happen."
Especially considering Rogers just joined the Pirates from Indianapolis Tuesday.
"It totally caught me off guard," Sharpless said.
Sharpless received a phone call from Indianapolis manager Trent Jewett about 1:15 yesterday morning informing him of his call-up.
Thirty minutes later, Jewett called back with Sharpless' flight information. Jewett also told Sharpless to stay by his phone because the club was trying to get his equipment from the ballpark.
At 3 a.m., Sharpless learned his equipment couldn't be collected until yesterday morning, so he drifted to sleep about 3:20 a.m.
Less than an hour later, he was awake and on his way to the airport.
His plane landed in Cincinnati about 8:30, and he was in the Pirates' clubhouse within an hour.
Tonight, Sharpless will be back home in Pittsburgh with his fiancee, Jane Och.
"I can't wait," Sharpless said. "She's been doing all the cake testing [for their November wedding], and I'm jealous."
Sharpless, who pitched in 14 Pirates games last season, was 1-0 with three saves and a 2.96 earned run average in 16 Indianapolis appearances this season. He pitched 21/3 innings Saturday.
"He has a very solid breaking ball for right-handed batters," manager Jim Tracy said. "[The key is] if he can throw his fastball consistently enough for strikes to open the door for his breaking ball. We'll find out."
Another shot for Rogers?
Perhaps Rogers will get another shot at establishing himself in the Pirates' bullpen.
"We like Brian Rogers," Tracy said. "We like him an awful lot. But the ball's not coming out of his hand [well]. His velocity's down and his command was awry."
Tom Gorzelanny, struck on his left thumb by a line drive in St. Louis Thursday, threw his usual between-starts bullpen yesterday and is set to make his next start tomorrow night against San Diego.
Doumit waits for clearance
Ryan Doumit, out since being hit in the head by Ryan Freel's bat Friday night, wasn't available again yesterday.
"We'll see," said Doumit, who's awaiting medical clearance to play.
The umpiring crew was a man short yesterday. Bob Davidson was ill.
General manager Dave Littlefield said Gary Ruby, who was in his sixth season as the Pirates' minor-league pitching coordinator, resigned for personal reasons.
Draft pick signed
The Pirates have signed Josue Peley, their 35th-round pick from the 2006 draft.
A "draft and follow" choice, Peley played this spring for Seminole Junior College in Oklahoma.
The Pirates plan to convert Peley, a right-handed batting middle infielder, into a catcher.
The Pirates also are trying to sign left-handed pitcher Rudy Owens, their 28th-round pick last June.
McCutchen above .200
Center fielder Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates' top pick in the 2005 draft, has yet to hit well for Class AA Altoona this season. His batting average has been under .200 almost all year, although he did climb over .200 Saturday (.207).
Curve manager Tim Leiper believes that he is set to get hot.
"He's right there. He's absolutely right there," Leiper said. "The whole league is throwing him outside, and he gets big with his swing. It happens with young players. He has to use his hands, not his shoulders. But he's handling himself like a champion."
The Pirates begin a three-game series with San Diego tomorrow night at PNC Park. The Padres are scheduled to start David Wells, former Pirates minor-leaguer Chris Young and Greg Maddux.