Pirates getting Rodriguez back
PITTSBURGH – Ready or not, Wandy Rodriguez is rejoining the Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting rotation.
Despite two rocky starts at the Class AA level, Rodriguez is scheduled to come off the disabled list this week to start the third game (Thursday) against the Brewers in Milwaukee.
Rodriguez has been sidelined since April 20 with inflammation in his right knee.
“(Pitching coach Ray Searage) and him are on the same page as far as our work program going forward,” manager Clint Hurdle. “He’s making progress and feeling better.”
In four starts this season. Rodriguez is 0-2 with a 7.65 earned run average. He’s allowed seven home runs in 20 innings.
Andrew McCutchen was absent from Saturday’s lineup without explanation.
Starling Marte started in center field, and Jose Tabata played left field.
McCutchen banged into the wall chasing a home run in Friday’s game and appeared to be flexing his leg afterwards.
The lineup wasn’t posted until after Hurdle had his daily pre-game meeting with the media.
After a slow start, first baseman Ike Davis has been hitting better in May.
Davis seems to be settling in after being traded from the New York Mets.
The key to his success at the plate is being selective.
“I don’t ever want to chase,” he said. “The whole plan is to get a good pitch to hit and square it up somewhere.”
On the other hand, pitcher Edinson Volquez has struggled after starting well.
Searage thinks he detected a flaw in Volquez’s delivery, and they spent time last week working to correct it. When things get tough, Volquez appears to forget about the fix the Pirates made in his delivery this spring.
“He’ll revert back to his old way,” Searage said.
The old way was the style that turned Volquez from an All-Star to an afterthought on the free agent market because of the lack of success.
“He ends up losing the majority of the work we started in spring training and carried over into the first couple of starts,” he said.
In a bullpen session, Volquez tried to get back to basics under Searage’s supervision.
“We will just keep emphasizing that.”
Hurdle said closer Jason Grilli continues to make progress as he returns from an oblique strain. He threw a bullpen session on Friday.
“He’s starting to feel aggressive,” Hurdle said. “He cut the ball loose a little bit. He’s heading in the right direction.”
Hurdle believes that Grilli will need some minor league rehab work before he returns to the active roster. When he comes back, will he immediately reclaim the closer’s spot?
“We’re going through this one day at a time based on what we see and feel,” Hurdle said. “I hate to take a guy away from his job because of an injury. Last year that’s the way it worked out. Coming back from his (forearm) injury last year, we wanted to be sure he was sharp. So we’ll see.”
Prime time players
The Cardinals and Pirates play tonight at 8:05, a starting time mandated by ESPN.
This is the first time the Pirates have been the main game on Sunday night since July 28, 1996 at Three Rivers Stadium.
They have another Sunday appearance coming up, June 1 at Los Angeles.