PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have had four save opportunities since the departure of Octavio Dotel on July 31. However, Tuesday's was the first in which Evan Meek got the chance at one.
Bucs manager John Russell has adamantly refrained from naming Joel Hanrahan or Meek the team's primary closer, saying the situation would dictate which one would get the chance. Until Tuesday, though, it appeared as if the job was unofficially Hanrahan's since all the previous opportunities had gone to him.
Meek came through when given the chance. It wasn't without drama, but the right-hander was able to close out the game and collect his second career save in the Pirates' 4-3 win over St. Louis.
"I thought [Tuesday] was a tremendous outing for him," Russell said of Meek. "One pitch away from the game being tied or giving up the lead, he found a way to get out of it. You can't replace that kind of experience. I think the more you can get them in that situation, the better they'll be in the long run."
That experience is precisely why Russell would like to keep divvying up save opportunities between the two young right-handers.
"I'd like to develop the mentality with both of them," Russell said. "They've pitched some very meaningful innings all year, but that ninth inning is a little different. I'd like to be able to ingrain that in both of them."
Burres getting another shot in Bucs' 'pen
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates summoned left-hander Brian Burres from Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday after placing starter Ross Ohlendorf (right shoulder strain) on the 15-day disabled list.
Called up for the third time this season, Burres will be used out of the bullpen, according to Bucs manager John Russell. The Pirates, who wanted to add an arm to their 'pen, were limited in their options, as none of the relievers on Indianapolis' roster are on the club's 40-man roster. Putting one of them on the roster would have required Pittsburgh to make another roster move.
Because Burres is not being inserted into Ohlendorf's rotation spot, the Pirates must still find a starter for Sunday's game in Milwaukee.
"We'll make that decision as we get a little closer," Russell said.
Charlie Morton and Brad Lincoln could be options for that spot start, though Lincoln is still dealing with neck stiffness. If Burres or Sean Gallagher aren't needed out of the 'pen in the next few days, the Pirates could always decide to use one of those two as a fill-in option.
Russell said the Pirates definitely will not utilize a four-man rotation on the roadtrip by taking advantage of the team's off-day on Thursday.
"I'd like to give everyone that extra day," Russell said. "Late in the year, I think that's important."
Only three of Burres' 10 appearances with the Pirates this year have come in relief. Overall, the left-hander has allowed 26 earned runs on 47 hits and 24 walks in 41 2/3 innings. He went 5-4 with a 4.50 ERA in 15 games -- 14 starts -- in Triple-A.
Ohlendorf's return this season in doubt
PITTSBURGH -- Bucs manager John Russell said he expects to know in 7-10 days whether right-hander Ross Ohlendorf will be able to pitch again this season.
Ohlendorf was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday with a strain in the back of his right shoulder. An MRI showed no ligament damage and no need for surgery. Ohlendorf has begun treatment, and it is how he responds to that treatment in that 10-day window that will help the Pirates determine whether it's worth having the right-hander throw another pitch this year.
"It's one of those things where you don't know what you have," Russell said. "How quickly is he going to respond to treatment? When is the pain going to go away? Once that happens, we can put together a timetable if he's able to come back and pitch."
Because the Minor League seasons will be over before Ohlendorf could potentially be ready to come back, the Pirates would have to find another way for the right-hander to get stretched back out.
If Ohlendorf does not throw another pitch for the Pirates until next April, he'll finish his second full season as a starter with a 1-11 record and 4.07 ERA.
Karstens misses start with 'cranky' arm
PITTSBURGH -- Arm fatigue kept Jeff Karstens from making his scheduled start on Wednesday, though the right-hander said that he doesn't expect the issue to linger past this week.
Karstens described his arm as feeling "cranky" for a while now. It's been only recently that the fatigue has lingered so much in between starts. Karstens said he was more than willing to pitch through the discomfort, but the Pirates' staff ultimately made the decision on Tuesday that Karstens' next turn would be skipped.
"I didn't want to go out there and chance it, but I know in my heart I would have tried to gut it out, even if it was bothering me," Karstens said. "When they made the final decision that I wasn't going to do it, it's probably for the best.
"I think I'm going to be fine and ready to go to finish the season."
Karstens couldn't point to a single factor for the fatigue, noting that his workload or lower arm slot could be potential causes.
Ironically, missing a start now might actually help Karstens be able to pitch through the end of the season.
His innings count is up to 115 2/3, already higher than his 2009 total of 114. General manager Neal Huntington and manager John Russell have both noted that they don't want to risk future arm problems by having Karstens exceed his '09 workload by too much.
The Pirates on Wednesday announced the signing of 16-year-old Columbian shortstop Dilson Herrera. Playing in a men's wood bat league this year, Herrera hit .292 and stole six bases in 20 games. According to Rene Gayo, the Pirates' director of Latin American scouting, the organization has been scouting Herrera since he was 13. Herrera becomes the fourth Columbian-born player in the Pirates' Minor League system. ... The Pirates enter their upcoming road trip having lost 10 straight away from home. That includes a winless month of August on the road. ... Triple-A Indianapolis outfielder Alex Presley has hit safely in seven straight games. He already put together a 13-game hitting streak last month.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.