HOUSTON -- Steve Pearce said he could not get accustomed to being a bench player.
"It's tough, very tough," he explained as he pulled on his clothes in the Pirates' postgame clubhouse. "This is, honestly, probably what's best right now."
This was being optioned to Class AAA Indianapolis, which happened to Pearce, a first baseman/outfielder, after the loss yesterday against Houston. Pearce, along with relief pitcher Steven Jackson, were sent to Indianapolis as the team reinstated relief pitcher Donnie Veal, a Rule 5 draft pick, from the disabled list.
Manager John Russell said another player will be called up before the game tomorrow night in Philadelphia.
Pearce made three starts and went 1 for 12 (.083) with six strikeouts in largely a pinch-hitting role after being recalled June 20.
"He was just kind of spinning his wheels here," Russell said.
"He needs to go down, get his swing back and get to playing every day."
Pearce struck out yesterday in a pinch-hit appearance -- his fourth strikeout in four at-bats in Houston.
"The way I've been playing, I thought [the demotion] was going to happen probably about a week ago," he said. "I wasn't doing a good job hitting, and to be a guy off the bench, you have to be able to do that."
Jackson, on the other hand, had been performing well. He threw two scoreless innings yesterday, marking the seventh consecutive appearance in which he did not allow a run.
"He's thrown the ball pretty well for us," Russell said. "It is just one of those things. We knew it was going to be a tough decision and, unfortunately, he had to be the guy to go.
"I was pleased with what he did, but I'd like him to be a little more consistent early in the count."
Second baseman Freddy Sanchez missed his sixth consecutive start because of his back injury, but the news on the All-Star took a positive turn yesterday a few hours before game time when he jumped into the on-field batting cage and took his first live batting practice since the injury.
He took about 20 swings with no obvious limitations and, upon leaving the cage said, "[I'm] feeling fine, not hurting at all. I'm good."
Russell said there is a chance Sanchez could return to the lineup tomorrow night in Philadelphia.
For the first time this season, Adam LaRoche -- who mostly had been batting cleanup since Ryan Doumit's injury in April --was dropped to No. 6 in the order.
"I just moved him down to let him relax a little," Russell said of LaRoche, who was 3 for 24 in July entering the game. LaRoche went 1 for 3 yesterday with a second-inning single.
Pirates pitcher Joel Hanrahan could earn a win today by doing nothing more than sitting in his hotel room on the team's off day in Philadelphia.
Confused? Here's the explanation:
The Astros and Nationals will play the continuation of a suspended game today in Houston that began May 5 in Washington. The game was halted because of rain with one out in the bottom of the 11th with the scored tied, 10-10.
Here's where Hanrahan comes in -- when the rain came that day, he was the pitcher of record for the Nationals. He was traded to the Pirates June 30.