HOUSTON -- Shortstop Ronny Cedeno was out of the starting lineup for the fourth consecutive game Sunday as he continued to battle a left shoulder impingement. General manager Neal Huntington doesn't expect Cedeno to go on the 15-day disabled list, however.

"We're still optimistic," Huntington said. "But if we're not seeing the progress we're going to see, [the DL] could be an option."

While Cedeno has been out, Argenis Diaz has filled in well, recording at least one hit in all of his starts.

"He's done a nice job," Huntington said. "He's made some mechanical adjustments with the staff to put him in a better position to hit."

If Cedeno does go on the DL, Huntington said an option could be prospect Pedro Ciriaco, who is currently hitting .279 for Triple-A Indianapolis.

"In a perfect world you don't bring a prospect to the big leagues and sit him on the bench," Huntington said. "In a perfect world you don't bring a prospect to the big leagues if he isn't ready."

Cedeno pinch-ran in the ninth inning of Saturday's game, eliminating any possibility of a longer retroactive period.

Huntington hopeful top picks will sign

HOUSTON -- General manager Neal Huntington said he hopes to sign the Pirates' two top Draft picks -- high school pitchers Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie -- before Monday's 11:59 p.m. ET deadline passes.

Huntington wouldn't address how negotiations have gone directly, coyly smiling as he answered questions about the Draft picks.

"We don't want to get into confirming or denying every rumor out there," Huntington said. "But we still remain optimistic."

Both Taillon and Allie are represented by Houston-based agents Randy and Alan Hendricks. Randy Hendricks didn't return a message left by MLB.com. Huntington said negotiations have been mostly independent, though.

If they Pirates are unable to sign their picks, they will receive compensatory Draft picks next year, which Huntington said isn't a bad alternative.

"It's not ideal," Huntington said. "It's something we hope to avoid, but having the third pick in next year's Draft is not the end of the world. We're going to work very hard to have that not happen."

Huntington also said it's rare for pitchers drafted out of high school to receive a contract that guarantees a spot on the 40-man roster. He added that he feels good about this Draft class heading into the final hours.

"Obviously we'd feel a lot better if we can get the two big ones," Huntington said. "There are still a handful of guys outside the top two (rounds) that we're looking at in the last 48 hours. With that said, we feel good with the players we've added."

McCutchen likes new lineup

HOUSTON -- Center fielder Andrew McCutchen had a familiar face hitting behind him in the order for the second consecutive game Sunday against the Astros. Manager John Russell opted to put first baseman Garrett Jones in the two-hole againb.

In their first game hitting back-to-back at the top of the order, the pair got off to a strong start: McCutchen drilled a triple to center and Jones promptly drove him in with a homer to right field.

But that was it, as they combined for no hits and four strikeouts the rest of the way.

"It felt kind of cool," McCutchen said. "Hopefully, we can continue to do that. But do it more often than one at-bat."

Worth Noting

Entering Sunday, left fielder Jose Tabata was tied for second in the National League with 39 hits since the All-Star break. ... Center fielder Andrew McCutchen has been successful in three of his past four stolen base attempts and currently ranks fourth in the National League with 24 this season....Third baseman Pedro Alvarez has hit safely in eight of his past 10 games, while batting .361 over that stretch.