Meccage subbing for healing Searage

By John Mehno

For the Mirror

PITTSBURGH — A familiar face was missing from the Pirates’ dugout Monday night.

Pitching coach Ray Searage is out on medical leave to have neck surgery.

There is no firm timetable for his return.

Assistant pitching coach Justin Meccage is handling the responsibilities in Searage’s absence. Bullpen coach Euclides Rojas also contributes, and Class AAA pitching coach Stan Kyles is with the major league team.

“I think it will be as smooth a transition as you can have,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Now (Meccage) will make a mound visit when it’s time. He’s involved in the pre-game planning, but he’s been having conversations nightly with all the starting pitchers. The information gathering part of it, the information seeking, the information sharing, he’s been doing.

“Ray has a lot of confidence in Justin’s abilities, as we all do. This is an opportunity to get some more experience.”

Cervelli out

Francisco Cervelli was in the original starting lineup, but was scratched about 90 minutes before the game started.

The Pirates reported he had flu-like symptoms. Jacob Stallings started in his place.

So long, A.L.

The current series with the Kansas City Royals is the last interleague play of the season for the Pirates.

They came into the game with a 12-5 record against American League opponents.

The season’s last three series will be against National League Central teams.

Sitting out

The Pirates have shut down reliever Keone Kela for the rest of the season.

They are being cautious because of his workload, especially in pressure situations. Kela had been the Texas Rangers’ closer before the Pirates acquired him in July.

He had 24 saves with Texas.

So long, Josh?

The Pirates hold a $10.5 million option on Josh Harrison next season and it seems likely they’ll opt for the $1 million buyout instead. It will cost another $500,000 to buy out a 2020 option for $11.5 million.

On Sunday, general manager Neal Huntington said, “(Adam) Frazier has stepped up and shown he’s ready to take the everyday opportunity at second base.”

Mehno can be reached at