The Pirates plan to a wait a little longer with Lastings Milledge.
The outfielder who was the centerpiece of the trade last month that sent Nyjer Morgan and Sean Burnett to the Washington Nationals rejoined Class AAA Indianapolis Friday after a three-game stint with Class A Lynchburg. And, as per general manager Neal Huntington, he will remain there until a couple of mechanical issues are addressed.
"We believe we've found some things that will help Lastings in the long run, both in the box and out on the field, and that having some additional time to work on those will benefit him," Huntington said.
There is no timetable for his promotion to Pittsburgh, even though Milledge has fared well of late, including two home runs Wednesday for Lynchburg and an ongoing 6-for-11 tear for Indianapolis.
Manager John Russell often has spoken of prioritizing pitching when building a roster, and he pointed across the field to San Francisco as an example: The Giants' rotation: Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Randy Johnson.
"It all starts on the mound," Russell said. "When you pitch well, you can win. When you have the kind of pitching they have, they've got a great chance to win because those are dominant pitchers. You'll see a lot of times where the teams with the great offenses win, but they don't win when it gets right down to it. You win when you pitch and catch the ball. What San Francisco's done is a tribute to that. They're in every game they play. And that's how we feel we are, except that we still need a little more at times."
• Virgil Vasquez will remain in the rotation for now, scheduled to pitch Tuesday. Management is mulling the possibility of moving Jeff Karstens back to a starting role if Vasquez fares poorly.
• Russell affirmed that sizzling Garrett Jones will retain a regular role, with Brandon Moss and Delwyn Young taking turns. "I like what I've seen," Russell said. "Very much."
• Advance sales are strong enough that the game tonight, which is followed by fireworks, could be the third sellout of the season.