Up Next: the Pirates

Jody Gerut is heading to the operating table -- at his expense.

The Pirates placed the 28-year-old outfielder on the restricted list at Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday after he decided to go against the advice of club doctors and have surgery on his right knee.

Gerut, who has a salary of $875,000 this season, will not be paid while on the restricted list. Because the Pirates doctors did not recommend the surgery, Gerut will pay his medical costs out of pocket, according to general manager Dave Littlefield.

The Pirates acquired Gerut from the Cubs at the non-waiver trading deadline last July 31 in a deal for outfielder Matt Lawton. Gerut played in only four games before going on the disabled list for the remainder of the season on Aug. 10 with patellar tendinitis in his right knee. Gerut had reconstructive surgery on the knee in September 2004.

Gerut played in 21 exhibition games during spring training this year and hit .349 in 43 at bats. However, hours after being optioned to Indianapolis on March 31, Gerut informed Littlefield he was injured.

Both the Pirates team doctors and knee specialist William I. Sterett in Vail, Colo., examined Gerut in the past 10 days and found no structural damage, diagnosing him with patellar tendinitis.

Littlefield said he did not know when or where Gerut would have the surgery or who would perform it. Gerut could not be reached for comment Thursday.

"He showed that he was healthy in spring training and we feel he is a healthy player," Littlefield said. "He told us he was healthy and he said the same thing (to the media) all spring. "From a functional standpoint, he passed all the tests and he also passed the Cybex test we conducted on his knee."

REPLAY: The Pirates' young starting rotation, which includes four pitchers 24 or younger, continued to struggle Thursday as Oliver Perez was tagged for six runs on nine hits and five walks in 4 2/3 innings of a 13-5 loss to the Dodgers. That came after Perez (0-2) allowed eight runs in 3 1/3 innings in his previous start, Saturday at Cincinnati.

No starter has pitched past the sixth inning during the Pirates' 3-8 start, and the rotation is 1-5 with 7.28 ERA. That has forced the Pirates to use their bullpen for 37 1/3 innings, an average of 3 1/3 a game, and the tired relievers have a 6.03 ERA after Ryan Vogelsong, Damaso Marte and John Grabow combined to give up seven runs Thursday.

NOTES, QUOTES

--RHP Kip Wells is scheduled to begin playing catch Monday at the Pirate City facility in Bradenton, Fla. It will be the first time Wells has thrown since having surgery March 7 to clear a 100 percent blockage in the axillary artery that supplies blood flow to his right arm.

--1B Sean Casey (bruised left ribcage) did not start for a third straight day Thursday but did pinch-hit and grounded out in a 13-5 loss to the Dodgers. Casey is expected to be back in the lineup Friday night when the Pirates open a three-game home series against the Cubs.

--C Ryan Doumit (tight left hamstring) missed a second straight game Thursday but said he felt much improved after a second day of treatment and would be ready to play Friday.

--3B Joe Randa (strained lower abdomen) sat out a second straight day Thursday but was available to pinch-hit and is expected to return to the lineup Friday.

--LF Jason Bay is not only the Pirates' best player but also their most durable one. He played in his 200th straight game Thursday, the sixth longest active streak in the major leagues. Bay played in all 162 games last season, the last 27 in 2004 and the first 11 this year. Bay's eight-game hitting streak ended as he went 0-for-4.

BY THE NUMBERS: 0-5 -- The Pirates' record through the first five games, their worst start since losing their first six games in 1974.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's not a good time to buy a lottery ticket if you're a Pittsburgh Pirate." -- LF Jason Bay.


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