PITTSBURGH -- As the team bus left Pittsburgh International Airport on Sunday night and headed back to PNC Park, Bobby Crosby grabbed the bus microphone and made an announcement.
"Team mustaches," he said.
After enduring a 1-6 road trip, the club didn't need much more motivation to change things up, so the group took on Crosby's challenge. Since Sunday, nearly everyone has put the razors down to let the facial hair grow. They'd like to think, too, that it's no coincidence that since instituting the team-wide mustache policy, the club has gone 2-0.
"I don't think we're the best looking team anymore, but we're having fun," said Crosby, who first sported a mustache during the team's visit to Wrigley Field in mid-May. "I think if you would go to most teams and say, 'Hey, we're going to grow mustaches,' they would turn it down. But everyone was pretty cool with it and wanted to run with it and see where it goes. As long as it's working and we're winning, we're going to keep it."
Some are having an easier time (Crosby, D.J. Carrasco, Ryan Doumit) growing out the mustache than others (Ronny Cedeno, Paul Maholm, Evan Meek). Crosby was quick to claim dibs on having the best one, though he was gracious in giving Carrasco the runner-up nod. If nothing else, evaluating facial hair-growing abilities has provided plenty of clubhouse banter.
There has, however, been one noticeable holdout so far.
"I don't look very good with a mustache," manager John Russell joked. "Not that I look very good anyway. That makes it a little worse."
Mostly under the prodding of Delwyn Young, the Pirates' fashion has also changed since the start of the homestand. Before facing the Cubs on Monday, Young encouraged his teammates to all wear their socks high. Again, the group obliged and plans to keep with the old-fashioned look if the wins continue to pile up.
Jones a bright spot in struggling offense
PITTSBURGH -- As the Pirates' offense struggles to muster any sort of consistent production, first baseman/outfielder Garrett Jones continues to buck that trend.
Even though the Pirates have averaged fewer than three runs per game during their past 20 games, Jones entered Wednesday having hit .329 over that span. He drove in one-fifth of the team's runs during that stretch, which followed a 16-game duration in which Jones had just 13 hits in 62 at-bats.
"He's swinging the bat pretty good," manager John Russell said of Jones, who leads the club with 33 RBIs. "He's starting to drive the ball a little bit. If he heats up, it's going to be a huge lift for our offense."
The only thing that Jones hadn't been doing with regularity until recently was showing his power. He entered the homestand having gone deep just one time since April 24, before hitting two critical homers to lead the Pirates to back-to-back wins against the Cubs.
"I'm starting to feel the swing I've been wanting to take -- more like last year," said Jones, who finished with a team-high 21 homers in 2009. "I'm getting some better extension and taking some nice swings. It feels like it's jumping. It's an effortless swing. That's where I want to be."
Eveland won't affect Lincoln's progress
PITTSBURGH -- The acquisition of left-hander Dana Eveland on Tuesday left some wondering how that might affect the timetable for Brad Lincoln's arrival. Well, general manager Neal Huntington made it clear that it won't.
"The acquisition of Eveland is independent from Lincoln," Huntington said. "There are no alarm bells for Lincoln. We really like him and how he is progressing. He continues to get closer to being ready to pitch at the Major League level."
Huntington's response was vague in terms of when Lincoln might make his big league debut, but the organization has emphasized all season that when the right-hander is deemed ready for the step up, the big league club will make room.
Lincoln, who will make his next start for Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday, is 5-2 with a 3.47 ERA in 10 starts this year. He has pitched at least six innings in all but two of his outings, and Lincoln has made six straight quality starts.
What's left for Lincoln to master? The continual development of a changeup, improved command of his secondary pitches and better location of his fastball down in the zone continue to comprise the organization's checklist for the former first-round Draft pick.
Though it's not written in pen, Jeff Karstens is a likely candidate to start Sunday's game. It will not be left-hander Brian Burres, and newly acquired southpaw Dana Eveland will likely not be ready to join the rotation that early. ... Steve Pearce hit off the tee on Wednesday for the first time since spraining his right ankle on May 24. He has not yet been cleared to do any running. ... Right-hander Chris Jakubauskas is leaving for Bradenton, Fla., on Thursday, when he will continue his pitching program. Jakubauskas, who was hit in the head by a line drive on April 24, will throw at least two more side sessions and two sessions of batting practice before the Pirates will decide if he is ready for a Minor League rehab assignment. ... Right-hander Jimmy Barthmaier has been added to the Double-A Altoona roster and has begun the competitive part of his pitching program, according to general manager Neal Huntington. Barthmaier has been recovering from Tommy John elbow surgery he had in April 2009. ... MLB Network has announced that it will televise the Pirates' 7:05 p.m. ET game against the Nationals next Tuesday. Stephen Strasburg will be making his Major League debut that night, likely against Pittsburgh's Zach Duke. The MLB Network telecast will be blacked out in Pittsburgh.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.