CHICAGO -- It may not be reflected in his error total (one), but right field continues to be an adventure for Lastings Milledge. And lately, the adventure has been particularly ugly.
Milledge continues to take circuitous routes to balls way too often and has misjudged plenty. His misplay of a fly ball in Milwaukee on Friday led to a two-run triple. On Monday, he had trouble corralling Marlon Byrd's poke into short right field. That ball skipped past Milledge for an RBI double.
And those are only the most recent examples.
Milledge didn't arrive in Pittsburgh last season lauded as an above-average defender. But he didn't come labeled as an outfield liability, either -- which is why his growing list of gaffes is becoming a concern.
Manager John Russell pointed to Milledge's move from left field to right, a move made upon Jose Tabata's arrival, as the root of Milledge's struggles. Though it's been nearly three months since Milledge made that move to the other side of the field, he is having particular trouble reading balls off the bat.
"We're working him hard, hitting him balls during [batting practice], but he's having a hard time making the adjustment [from] left to right," Russell said. "A lot of times people think it's tougher to go from right to left, but he's not seeing the ball well. It's just getting that first step to be a little bit better."
Milledge continues to split time in right field with Ryan Doumit and, to a lesser extent, Delwyn Young. He is no shoo-in for a starting outfield job in 2011, which makes Milledge's ability to improve defensively imperative over the next month.
Bucs likely to limit September callups
CHICAGO -- Teams will enjoy the flexibility to add to their 25-man rosters beginning on Wednesday, though don't expect a deluge of additions to be made to this Pirates club.
September callups will be limited this season, and most -- if not all -- aren't actually expected to happen until after the club's Triple-A Indianapolis affiliate wraps up its season on Monday. Though management has already determined what extra players will be joining the big league club, manager John Russell didn't tip the organization's hand on Tuesday.
"We have a pretty good idea," he said. "When they get here, we'll announce it."
It's expected that the Pirates will bring up at least one additional catcher -- either Jason Jaramillo or Erik Kratz -- as well as a few extra arms for the bullpen. Joe Martinez, who was acquired at the Trade Deadline, and Justin Thomas appear the likeliest to be summoned given that both are already on the 40-man roster.
There was an expectation that the Pirates would add another starter as well, though Brad Lincoln's neck stiffness/soreness could affect plans to get him a few more big league starts before the end of the season. Lincoln has not pitched since Aug. 18.
If the Pirates do want to insert an extra starter into the rotation, Martinez would be another option to fit that role.
On the position player end, outfielder John Bowker is expected to make his Pirates debut next month. Since coming over from the Giants in a Trade Deadline deal, Bowker has hit .330 in 24 games with Triple-A Indianapolis.
Brandon Moss would be another outfielder under consideration for a callup, though the Pirates would have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Moss first.
The Pirates could also take this opportunity to get a brief look at 24-year-old shortstop Pedro Ciriaco, who was also a Trade Deadline acquisition.
The club's concern in getting too heavy with September invites is that it really doesn't have much playing time to hand out. With a number of young players entrenched in the lineup, the Pirates don't see a benefit in cutting into the starters' development.
Two Marauders named FSL All-Stars
CHICAGO -- In the midst of their pursuit of a spot in the Florida State League playoffs, the Bradenton Marauders had two players named to the FSL postseason All-Star team on Tuesday. The Pirates' Class A affiliate will be represented on that All-Star squad by outfielder Quincy Latimore and reliever Noah Krol.
Krol leads the FSL with 33 saves, 61 appearances and 60 games finished. Only three pitchers at any Minor League level have more saves than Krol, who recorded nine of his saves in August.
No FSL player has more RBIs (98) or total bases (219) than Latimore, who also ranks second in the league with 50 extra-base hits and third with 81 runs scored. Latimore appears poised to become the first Pirates Minor League player with a 100-RBI season since Steve Pearce drove in 113 in 2007.
On the team side, the Marauders (35-26) currently hold a three-game lead in the South division's second-half standings with six games left to play. If Bradenton can hold on and finish atop the standings, the Marauders will be one of four FSL teams to advance to the playoffs.
Sanchez headlines Bucs' AFL participants
CHICAGO -- Tony Sanchez, the organization's first-round Draft pick in 2009, headlines a group of Pirates prospects participating in the Arizona Fall League -- which begins in October.
Sanchez, infielder Josh Harrison, infielder Jordy Mercer and outfielder Andrew Lambo have all been named to the Mesa Solar Sox roster. The Pirates will also send three pitchers, though those pitching spots have not yet been finalized.
Sidelined since late June with a jaw injury, Sanchez will use the AFL as a way to make up for missed at-bats. Sanchez is almost fully recovered from jaw surgery, though director of player development Kyle Stark said on Tuesday that it is "doubtful" Sanchez will play again with Class A Bradenton this season.
"It's going to be another wonderful opportunity," Sanchez said. "I try to compare it to the Cape [Cod League]. It's more competitive out there now, but I'm feeling the same way as when I found out I was going to play in the Cape. You're looking forward to playing against the best guys in the country."
Sanchez will participate in the organization's instructional league before joining the Solar Sox.
Mercer, a third-round Draft pick in 2008, is finishing his first full season at Double-A Altoona, where he has hit .275 with 34 extra-base hits and 62 RBIs in 120 games.
Harrison ranks third on Altoona's roster with a .302 season average. Acquired from the Cubs as part of the John Grabow/Tom Gorzelanny trade last July, Harrison has driven in 73 runs and connected for 39 extra-base knocks.
Lambo is new to the organization, having been obtained just a month ago from the Dodgers in exchange for closer Octavio Dotel. The 22-year-old outfielder has hit .310 since joining Altoona and is now batting .282 overall this season.
Though Evan Meek is still nursing a swollen right hand, manager John Russell said that there is a chance Meek will be ready to play catch by Wednesday. ... Pittsburgh's Double-A Altoona affiliate entered Thursday with a magic number of one to clinch a spot in the Eastern League playoffs. The Curve (79-56) has a 6 1/2-game lead in their division with seven games left to play. ... Colleen Hroncich, the granddaughter of former Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh, will be discussing her book about Murtaugh at the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Friday as part of the Hall's author series. Hroncich's book is titled 'The Whistling Irishman: Danny Murtaugh Remembered.'
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.