Pirates Preview

The Pirates have more catchers than they know what to do with.

When the Pirates placed Ryan Doumit on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring April 16 and called up Ronny Paulino from Triple-A Indianapolis, it appeared certain Paulino would go back to the minors once Doumit was healthy.

However, Paulino has at least given the Pirates something to think about by hitting .304 in eight games. Furthermore, Pirates pitchers have a 3.16 ERA with Paulino catching as opposed to a 6.25 mark with Doumit or Humberto Cota behind the plate.

Doumit went 1-for-4 with two RBIs and a walk Sunday for Triple-A Indianapolis in the fourth game of his injury-rehabilitation assignment. He is hitting .357 (5-for-14) with five RBIs, two walks and three strikeouts in Triple-A.

The Pirates' original plan was for Doumit to rejoin the Pirates on Monday in Chicago before they open a two-game series against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. However, general manager Dave Littlefield hedged somewhat Sunday and said Doumit could remain at Indianapolis awhile longer.

Doumit can spend up to 20 days on his rehab assignment, which would buy the Pirates more time to make a decision on which of the three catchers will eventually be sent down. Cota is out of minor league options, though, and would have to pass through waivers to be sent out.

Pirates manager Jim Tracy said he would like to see Doumit "catch a few days in a row" before returning to the active roster to get a better read on how much his leg has healed. Doumit has caught in three of his four games at Indianapolis but was the designated hitter Saturday.

Paulino, on the other hand, has performed so well that Tracy is confident he can be an everyday catcher in the major leagues.

"The most important part is the defense, and Ronny is very solid in that phase of the game, both with his throwing and game-calling," Tracy said. "He's still rough around the edges and he needs to get better at blocking pitches, but he's proven he can play at this level."

REPLAY: The Pirates ended a miserable April with a 5-1 loss to Philadelphia on Sunday in a game in which left-hander Oliver Perez (1-4) needed 106 pitches just to get through 3 2/3 innings. The Pirates finished April with a 7-19 record, the fourth straight year they have started the season with a losing month.

Perez struggled throughout as he gave up four runs and six hits while walking five and striking out four. His ERA is 7.53 after six starts.

The only offense the Pirates mustered off Gavin Floyd (2-2), who brought a 8.10 ERA into the game, was Jack Wilson's solo home run in the seventh homer. Wilson's fifth homer set a club record for shortstops in the month of April. Jay Bell hit four in 1996, and Kevin Elster matched that figure a year later.

NOTES, QUOTES

--1B Sean Casey, who suffered two fractures in his lower left back April 14, began his rehabilitation over the weekend. Casey said he was in great pain for the first few days after being injured but now feels so good that he believes he can beat the Pirates' timetable for his return sometime in June.

--RHP Kip Wells likely will be able to begin throwing from the pitcher's mound next week at the Pirates' extended spring training camp in Bradenton, Fla. Wells has been on the disabled list all season after having vein graft surgery in March to repair a blocked artery in his right arm.

--2B Jose Castillo got Sunday off as he is 2-for-28 (.071) in his last eight games and hasn't driven in a run since April 13. INF Freddy Sanchez started at second and went 1-for-4.

--LHP Mike Gonzalez and RHP Roberto Hernandez both will be used in the ninth inning to close out games, sometimes even appearing together in the same game as they did in Saturday night's 4-3 win over Philadelphia. Gonzalez was lifted after walking two of the first three batters in the ninth, and Hernandez got the save by inducing a game-ending double play with the bases loaded.

--1B Chris Richard, who played in the major leagues with St. Louis, Baltimore and Colorado from 2000-03, was signed as a free agent and assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis. 1B Brad Eldred is expected to miss the rest of the season at Indianapolis after having surgery to repair a fracture and torn ligament in his left thumb following a collision with a runner at first base.

BY THE NUMBERS: 1-12 -- The record of the Pirates in 13 road games to start the season, in contrast to their 5-6 record in home games.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "You also have to make sure you give the guys in a lineup a chance to break out of their slump. I don't think 50 at bats is a fair amount of time to do that." -- Pirates manager Jim Tracy, on giving his players a chance to break out of early season slumps.

ROSTER REPORT

MEDICAL WATCH:
RHP Kip Wells (arterial surgery) went on the disabled list in spring training. He hopes to return by July.

1B Sean Casey (two fractures on lower back) went on the disabled list April 15. He is out until at least early June.

C Ryan Doumit (strained hamstring) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 12. He has started an injury-rehab assignment.

Player Stats

LINEUP

1. Nate McLouth, CF
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .000     3     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Last 7 Games      .000    14     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Season            .196    46     5     9     1     0     1     2     1

2. Jack Wilson, SS
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .250     4     1     1     0     0     1     1     0
Last 7 Games      .320    25     2     8     2     0     1     4     0
Season            .326    89    13    29     6     0     5    14     1

3. Jason Bay, LF
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .000     1     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Last 7 Games      .227    22     4     5     2     0     1     2     0
Season            .277    83    18    23     3     0     5    11     3

4. Jeromy Burnitz, RF
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .250     4     0     1     0     0     0     0     0
Last 7 Games      .208    24     1     5     0     0     1     2     0
Season            .226    93     7    21     2     0     5    14     0

5. Craig Wilson, 1B
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .000     4     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Last 7 Games      .208    24     1     5     1     0     1     5     0
Season            .280    75    13    21     5     1     7    18     1

6. Joe Randa, 3B
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .250     4     0     1     0     0     0     0     0
Last 7 Games      .208    24     1     5     0     0     0     0     0
Season            .233    73     4    17     4     0     1     6     0

7. Freddy Sanchez, 2B
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .250     4     0     1     0     0     0     0     0
Last 7 Games      .357    14     1     5     2     0     1     1     0
Season            .333    48     5    16     4     0     2     5     0

8. Humberto Cota, C
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .250     4     0     1     0     0     0     0     0
Last 7 Games      .250    24     1     6     1     0     0     1     0
Season            .239    46     1    11     1     0     0     3     0

9. Oliver Perez, P
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .000     1     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Last 6 Games      .154    13     0     2     0     0     0     1     0
Season            .154    13     0     2     0     0     0     1     0


OTHER ROSTER PLAYERS

Sean Casey, 1B
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .000     1     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Last 7 Games      .333    24     5     8     2     0     1     3     0
Season            .313    32     7    10     3     0     2     5     0

Jose Castillo, 2B
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .000     3     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Last 7 Games      .080    25     1     2     0     0     0     0     0
Season            .234    77     8    18     3     0     1     6     2

Ryan Doumit, C
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .500     2     1     1     0     0     1     2     0
Last 6 Games      .200    15     3     3     0     0     2     4     0
Season            .200    15     3     3     0     0     2     4     0

Chris Duffy, CF
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .250     4     0     1     0     0     0     1     0
Last 7 Games      .211    19     2     4     1     0     0     1     1
Season            .197    76    11    15     6     1     0     4     2

Zach Duke, P
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .000     1     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Last 5 Games      .143     7     0     1     0     0     0     0     0
Season            .143     7     0     1     0     0     0     0     0

Mike Edwards, 3B
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game        1.000     1     0     1     0     0     0     0     0
Last 6 Games      .286     7     0     2     0     0     0     0     0
Season            .286     7     0     2     0     0     0     0     0

Jose Hernandez, SS
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .000     1     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Last 7 Games      .133    15     2     2     0     0     1     2     0
Season            .174    23     2     4     0     0     1     2     0

Paul Maholm, P
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .000     2     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Last 5 Games      .000     8     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Season            .000     8     0     0     0     0     0     0     0

Ronny Paulino, C
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .333     3     1     1     0     0     0     0     0
Last 7 Games      .350    20     2     7     0     0     0     0     0
Season            .304    23     2     7     0     0     0     0     0

Victor Santos, P
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .000     1     1     0     0     0     0     0     0
Last 5 Games      .143     7     2     1     0     0     0     0     0
Season            .143     7     2     1     0     0     0     0     0

Ian Snell, P
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .000     2     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Last 5 Games      .000     6     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Season            .000     6     0     0     0     0     0     0     0

Salomon Torres, 
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .000     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Last 7 Games      .000     0     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Season            .000     1     0     0     0     0     0     0     0

Ryan Vogelsong, 
                    BA    AB     R     H    2B    3B    HR   RBI    SB
Last Game         .000     1     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Last 7 Games      .000     1     0     0     0     0     0     0     0
Season            .000     1     0     0     0     0     0     0     0

PITCHERS

Matt Capps, P
                   ERA     W     L    Sv     G    IP     H    ER    HR    BB     K
Last Game         0.00     0     0     0     1     2     0     0     0     0     3
Last 3 Games      0.00     0     0     0     3     5     1     0     0     0     6
Season            3.77     0     0     0    11  14.1    14     6     3     1    13

Zach Duke, P
                   ERA     W     L    Sv     G    IP     H    ER    HR    BB     K
Last Game         4.50     0     0     0     1     6     8     3     0     5     2
Last 3 Games      3.32     1     1     0     3    19    19     7     2    10    12
Season            4.50     1     2     0     5    30    32    15     5    15    18

Mike Gonzalez, P
                   ERA     W     L    Sv     G    IP     H    ER    HR    BB     K
Last Game         0.00     0     0     0     1   0.1     0     0     0     2     1
Last 3 Games      0.00     0     0     1     3   2.1     1     0     0     4     2
Season            2.16     0     1     3     9   8.1     7     2     0     5     8

John Grabow, P
                   ERA     W     L    Sv     G    IP     H    ER    HR    BB     K
Last Game         0.00     0     0     0     1   1.2     0     0     0     0     1
Last 3 Games      6.00     0     0     0     3     3     4     2     1     1     2
Season            5.73     0     0     0    11    11    12     7     4     6     6

Roberto Hernandez, P
                   ERA     W     L    Sv     G    IP     H    ER    HR    BB     K
Last Game         0.00     0     0     1     1   0.2     0     0     0     1     0
Last 3 Games      6.00     0     1     1     3     3     5     2     1     1     1
Season            3.18     0     1     2    11  11.1    12     4     1     8     7

Paul Maholm, P
                   ERA     W     L    Sv     G    IP     H    ER    HR    BB     K
Last Game         1.29     1     0     0     1     7     6     1     0     2     4
Last 3 Games      4.50     1     2     0     3    16    20     8     3     8     8
Season            5.85     1     3     0     5  27.2    34    18     5    15    13

Damaso Marte, P
                   ERA     W     L    Sv     G    IP     H    ER    HR    BB     K
Last Game         0.00     0     0     0     1   0.2     0     0     0     0     1
Last 3 Games      0.00     0     0     0     3   2.2     1     0     0     0     5
Season            2.46     0     1     0    12   7.1     8     2     1     2    11

Oliver Perez, P
                   ERA     W     L    Sv     G    IP     H    ER    HR    BB     K
Last Game         9.81     0     1     0     1   3.2     6     4     2     5     4
Last 3 Games      7.05     1     2     0     3  15.1    21    12     4    11    10
Season            7.53     1     4     0     6  28.2    39    24     8    23    25

Victor Santos, P
                   ERA     W     L    Sv     G    IP     H    ER    HR    BB     K
Last Game         9.00     0     1     0     1     5     8     5     1     3     3
Last 3 Games      7.63     0     3     0     3  15.1    20    13     3     6     8
Season            6.48     1     4     0     5    25    32    18     3    10    17

Ian Snell, P
                   ERA     W     L    Sv     G    IP     H    ER    HR    BB     K
Last Game         0.00     1     0     0     1     7     5     0     0     1     7
Last 3 Games      4.00     1     2     0     3    18    17     8     1     4    12
Season            5.79     1     2     0     5    28    37    18     4     9    19

Salomon Torres, P
                   ERA     W     L    Sv     G    IP     H    ER    HR    BB     K
Last Game        27.27     0     0     0     1   0.1     1     1     1     0     0
Last 3 Games      3.86     0     0     0     3   2.1     4     1     1     0     3
Season            3.12     2     1     0    14  17.1    16     6     1     6    12

Ryan Vogelsong, P
                   ERA     W     L    Sv     G    IP     H    ER    HR    BB     K
Last Game         5.39     0     0     0     1   1.2     2     1     0     1     3
Last 3 Games      3.17     0     0     0     3   5.2     5     2     0     2     4
Season            7.43     0     0     0     8  13.1    15    11     1     6     9

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