Pirates Notebook: Milledge not complaining
Lastings Milledge did not complain when the Pirates platooned him in right field with a sub-.200 average Ryan Church, and he is not about to complain now that he is starting twice in every handful of games.
"No, I'm not complaining," Milledge said Monday. "It's not personal. I know JR loves the way I play, I know Neal loves the way I play."
That would be manager John Russell and general manager Neal Huntington.
"It's just sometimes certain situations things don't work out for the time being. I just feel like, when I get my opportunity, I'm going to make the best of it, whether it's two times a week or three times a week. When I get in there I need to make up for lost time. That's the approach I've been taking. The last couple guys I faced have been No. 1 starters."
That would be Florida's Josh Johnson and New York's Johan Santana. Milledge went 1 for 3 off each, with a home run off the brilliant Santana.
"I could easily fall into that trap, but I don't care who's out there right now, anytime I get an opportunity I'm going to take advantage of it. I can't control how much playing time I get, but I can control my energy level when I get in the game. Whether I start or pinch-hit, I'm going to be the most ready guy on the team. That's something I take pride in."
Milledge, in the lineup for a second consecutive game Monday after being benched for five of the previous six, was batting .273 overall, .298 in his past 48 starts. But he has lost time mostly because of the Pirates' attempt to indoctrinate Ryan Doumit in right field.
"Lastings stays very focused," Russell said. "With Ryan in right, it is a juggling act. Certainly, we'll get Lastings opportunities, as well as Ryan. He's a big part of that energy on the bench. He's not hanging his head. He realizes the situation we're in."
First baseman Jeff Clement was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of left knee irritation.
Russell described it as "something that hurts when he swings," but added that an MRI taken last week showed no significant damage. The team is hoping it will heal through rest in the next two weeks.
Clement has a history of trouble in both knees throughout his professional career.
• Clement's place on the roster was taken by left-handed reliever Justin Thomas, recalled for a third time. Russell suggested that Thomas might be up only for a week or so because the Pirates could use an extra arm.
• Starter Charlie Morton returned for Class AAA Indianapolis after missing one game to a sore elbow.
• Reliever Ramon Aguero, a member of the 40-man roster with Class AA Altoona, returned to the Curve after missing two weeks to a strained back.