Cedeno on track to claim starting role in 2011
After early-season benching, shortstop making great strides
CINCINNATI -- Manager John Russell expects Ronny Cedeno to be the Pirates' starting shortstop next season, provided the 27-year-old continues on his present path.
"I think Ronny's made a pretty good statement," Russell said. "He's done some very good things, especially in the second half. He's still got some things to accomplish. He's made great strides in a lot of areas."
Cedeno, who was benched earlier this season after an argument with former Pirates bench coach Gary Varsho, hit safely in eight of his past 11 games. He is batting .245 with six homers, 31 RBIs and 12 stolen bases on the season.
Cedeno has started 110 games this season at shortstop. He was pleased to hear Russell's vote of confidence.
"It's nice to hear him say that," Cedeno said. "I want to gain some consistency. Right now I'm just trying to help the team win. I'd like to be the man, the everyday shortstop next year. We'll see what happens."
With limited shortstop options in free agency or within the organization, Russell said he'd like to see Cedeno earn the position.
"It's not an easy position to fill," Russell said. "This isn't a make-or-break three weeks for him. He's made a lot of progress. I see no reason why Ronny Cedeno shouldn't be our shortstop."
Maholm hopes to build off previous outing
CINCINNATI -- Pirates left-hander Paul Maholm pitched well enough to win on Friday night -- in six of his seven innings.
Maholm allowed all three of his runs with two outs in the third inning. He settled down after that, retiring eight consecutive batters in one stretch.
"He threw the ball well and kept us in the game," said manager John Russell. "It was unfortunate that he gave up those runs with two outs. It would've been easy for him to give up more."
Maholm pitched seven innings and gave up three runs on six hits, walked three and tied a season high with eight strikeouts. He earned a no-decision when the Pirates rallied to tie the score with two runs in the ninth before losing, 4-3, in 12 innings.
"He needs to build off [Friday's outing] to finish really strong," Russell said.
Russell wants Rose to be considered for Hall
CINCINNATI -- In a pregame ceremony on Saturday night, the Reds commemorated the 25th anniversary of Pete Rose's career hit No. 4,192, which surpassed Ty Cobb on the all-time list.
Pirates manager John Russell played with Rose during Spring Training in 1983 while in the Phillies' organization.
"He's a tremendous worker, tremendous passion for the game," Russell said. "He wasn't called Charlie Hustle for nothing. He played the game hard."
Russell believes Rose, who was in attendance at Saturday's ceremony, should be considered for induction into the Hall of Fame despite his banishment from baseball.
"I'm a big believer in the rule," Russell said. "Gambling on baseball is about as wrong as you can get. But I think what he did on the field should definitely be considered."
Neil Walker singled in the eighth inning on Saturday to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 17 games. It's the longest streak by a Pirates rookie since Rennie Stennett hit safely in 18 consecutive contests in 1971. Walker is batting .360 (27-for-75) with six doubles, two triples, five home runs and 18 RBIs during the streak. ... Pirates pitchers struck out 15 batters in Friday's 12-inning loss to the Reds. The last time the Bucs fanned 15 in a game was June 26, 2004, at Cincinnati ... Altoona beat Harrisburg, 7-2, on Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in its best-of-five Eastern League playoff series.
Jeff Wallner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.