Karstens back in Bucs' bullpen after rainout
Right-hander an option for Pirates' vacant starting spot Sunday
PITTSBURGH -- Tuesday's rainout has put Jeff Karstens' role in flux again.
Karstens was initially supposed to pitch on Thursday, following Kevin Correia and Paul Maholm in a three-game series against Milwaukee. But with no game played on Tuesday, Karstens is back and available in the bullpen for the remaining pair of games against the Brewers.
Charlie Morton will take the mound Friday in Cincinnati, with James McDonald now scheduled to start on Saturday. The Pirates will need another starter on Sunday, but manager Clint Hurdle is leaving the letters "TBD" in that spot, for now.
The start will likely go to Karstens, who was initially pegged to take Ross Ohlendorf's spot in the rotation while Ohlendorf is on the disabled list. Karsten's availability would change, however, should he be needed in long relief on either Wednesday or Thursday.
Another option for the Pirates on Sunday would be Brian Burres, who is scheduled to pitch for Triple-A Indianapolis that day. Working against Burres, though, is the fact that he would have to be added to both the 25- and 40-man rosters before being called up.
Jaramillo sent down to make room for Snyder
PITTSBURGH -- Catcher Chris Snyder will join the Pirates on Thursday, following a week-long rehab stint with Class A Advanced Bradenton. The club announced the move following Wednesday's 6-0 loss to the Brewers.
Jason Jaramillo was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis to make room for Snyder on the roster.
Snyder returns after playing six games for Bradenton. He was behind the plate in four of those and logged a total of 24 plate appearances. Most importantly, Snyder reported no soreness in his back. He had to stop playing twice during Spring Training because of back issues.
Jaramillo stands as the No. 3 catcher on the Pirates' depth chart, which made him the obvious candidate to be pushed out of a spot. He now heads to Indianapolis and will share catching duties with Dusty Brown.
"I feel like I've shown people that I deserve to be here and that I've done a pretty good job," said Jaramillo, who went 5-for-14 in four games. "Like I said, I'm going to go do my job, and hopefully I'm back up here a lot sooner rather than later."
The impending arrival of Snyder will affect Ryan Doumit's playing time as well. After starting eight of the first 11 games, Doumit is expected to fall into a backup role. While Doumit may get more playing time than a traditional second catcher, Snyder will serve as the team's primary catcher.
Hurdle reminds club dangers of head-first slide
PITTSBURGH -- Seeing video of Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton sliding headfirst into home plate on Tuesday didn't necessarily surprise Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who as Texas' hitting coach last year, has seen Hamilton do it before.
But Hurdle wasn't going to let the incident pass without making it a teaching moment in the Bucs' clubhouse. Prior to Wednesday's game against the Brewers, Hurdle met with players to remind them that sliding headfirst, particularly into home, is always ill-advised.
"You are very susceptible to injury, especially at home plate," Hurdle said. "I understand why people do it. I'm just not a big fan of it."
The Pirates' coaching staff spent time during Spring Training, as most teams do, harping on the preference of sliding feet first into a base. And already twice this year, players have gotten reminders of the risk of sliding headfirst.
Dodgers infielder Rafael Furcal is expected to miss four to six weeks after breaking his thumb on such a slide on Monday. Hamilton will be out an estimated six to eight weeks with a shoulder fracture.
Beimel feels good, could return this weekend
PITTSBURGH -- Though Joe Beimel has pitched in just three Minor League games this month, manager Clint Hurdle hinted that the left-hander could be ready to join the Pirates without any additional Triple-A appearances.
Beimel pitched for Indianapolis on Monday and Tuesday, and the Pirates want to give him at least two days to make sure he doesn't feel any negative effects after pitching on back-to-back days for the first time all year.
The left-hander reported no issues on Wednesday. Beimel will be reevaluated on Thursday before the club decides its next move with the reliever.
"If he feels good again [on Thursday], we'll look to have him possibly join the club after that," Hurdle said. "Knock on wood that when he gets healthy, his track record speaks for itself on availability and durability, which will help us as well."
Assuming Beimel does not suffer any setbacks, he is likely to join the Pirates during their four-day series in Cincinnati, which begins on Friday. Beimel must still be added to the 40-man roster, and a reliever would have to be sent down to make room for him in the bullpen.
The addition of Beimel would give Pittsburgh a pair of lefty relievers for the first time this year. Garrett Olson has been the lone southpaw to this point. Daniel McCutchen or Mike Crotta seem most likely to be sent down.
Pitching prospect Bryan Morris tossed six shutout innings for Double-A Altoona in his start on Tuesday. Morris, who was a candidate to begin the year in Triple-A, walked one and allowed four hits in the outing.
Chris Snyder played in his sixth rehab game with Class A Advanced Bradenton on Tuesday. It marked Snyder's sixth game in as many days. The Pirates have not announced whether Snyder (lower back soreness) will continue his rehab stint in Triple-A or make the jump from Bradenton to Pittsburgh.
Manager Clint Hurdle went the unconventional route of inserting right-handed-hitting Matt Diaz into the lineup against righty Shaun Marcum on Wednesday, rather than sticking with left-handed hitter Garrett Jones. Hurdle said he liked the way that Diaz has swung the bat lately, and he pointed out that Marcum has actually fared better against left-handed batters in his career. Diaz ended up with two of the Pirates' four hits off Marcum.
Evan Meek has been cleared to pitch after sitting out with right shoulder tightness. Meek's last appearance was April 6 in St. Louis.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.