PITTSBURGH - It wasn't long ago when the rotation was the backbone of a Pittsburgh Pirates team that was the surprise of the major league season.
Now that their two most experienced starters will be sidelined until further notice, it has all of a sudden become a question mark.
On Monday, 12-game winner Kevin Correia was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left oblique muscle. The move was retroactive to Saturday.
Reliever Chris Leroux (strained left calf) was activated from the disabled list to take his place on the roster.
Correia joined Paul Maholm (strained left shoulder) on the inactive list. The veterans began the season as the first and second starters in the rotation.
Like Maholm, Correia has been ineffective since the All-Streak break. In that period, he owns a 1-4 record and 7.23 earned run average in seven starts.
Correia had been scheduled to pitch the series finale against the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday afternoon.
In the afternoon, Maholm met with Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.
"Dr. Andrews confirmed the diagnosis of a left shoulder strain," general manager Neal Huntington said. "Paul will continue treatment and begin rehab as recovery allows. The timing of his return will depend upon the healing process."
Back for more
Ross Ohlendorf returned from Indianapolis for a physical examination in hopes that he would be available to pitch tonight.
Ohlendorf was confident that changes to his delivery would alleviate the strain on his right shoulder, a problem that limited him to a pair of starts in the first month of the season.
"I don't move my head as much on the follow-through," he said. "I've also adjusted my arm angle. Those changes reduce the stress on my shoulder."
The veteran had a 1-1 record and 3.33 ERA in four starts with Indianapolis, his third rehabilitation stop.
"Every time I've pitched throughout the whole rehab process, I feel like every time I've done something a little bit better," he said. "My change-up and slider feel really good. They're much more consistent than they were in spring training."
Not so fast
Evan Meek threw 17 pitches in his start with Class A Bradenton on Sunday morning, only one of which was clocked in excess of 91 miles per hour.
Manager Clint Hurdle cautioned not to read anything into the results at this early juncture.
"It was a good first step that's it," he said. "There's nothing more to read into it. I'm not encouraged or discouraged by anything that happened."
The next move could be announced as early as today.
Heilman signs deal
Veteran reliever Aaron Heilman agreed to a minor league contract and was sent to the Indianapolis farm club.
The right-hander compiled a 4-1 record and 6.88 earned run average in 32 appearances with the Arizona Diamondbacks before he was released last month.
The Philadelphia Phillies parted ways with the 32-year-old earlier in the week.
The Brewers will send Marco Estrada (3-8, 4.28) to the mound this evening (7:05, Root Sports, WPGB-FM).