PHILADELPHIA -- Needing to go home to tend to family matters, first baseman Derrek Lee did not join the Pirates for their series finale in Philadelphia on Sunday. He is expected to travel to Pittsburgh in time to be active for Monday's contest against the Cubs, one of his former clubs.
Manager Clint Hurdle said he spoke with Lee on Saturday night, shortly after the Pirates announced that they had acquired the veteran first baseman from Baltimore for Minor Leaguer Aaron Baker. Though Lee was playing in New York, he told Hurdle he needed to return to Baltimore to take care of some immediate things with his family.
Hurdle said he had no issue with that decision.
"I don't get caught up in the expectations of other people," Hurdle said. "I respect his decision. I don't try to figure all that out and speculate. He'll get here when he's ready to go. He wants to get here sooner rather than later."
Lee will be enthusiastically welcomed when he does arrive. In addition to highlighting Lee's potential to upgrade the Bucs' offense, Pittsburgh players raved about Lee's professionalism and leadership potential.
Matt Diaz knows firsthand what Lee can provide to a team trying to make a push for the playoffs. Lee joined Diaz in Atlanta last August and helped lead the Braves to a Wild Card berth.
"He walked into an Atlanta clubhouse last year with veterans and was the instant go-to guy,' Diaz said. "He is a good player, obviously. He is a great guy off the field. I know a lot of people thought he'd be here today, but knowing what a family guy he is, I had a feeling he probably would not be here today. I'm proud of him for showing up on Monday.
"I'm excited to have him."
Hurdle did not reveal where in the lineup he expects to insert Lee, though Hurdle said he does already have a pretty good idea about his plans. Lee will get the bulk of playing time at first.
"We believe that he has productive baseball left in him," Hurdle said. "The reports that we have been getting are very encouraging. He has been swinging the bat extremely well the last few weeks."
Lee has hit .246 with 12 homers and 41 RBIs in 85 games with Baltimore. His production as of late, though, has been well above that. Since July 8, Lee has batted .309 with 11 extra-base hits and 19 RBIs.
"We thought it was very important to upgrade the offense, and we feel like Derrek Lee, hitting from the right side, veteran presence, that we've given Clint an additional weapon," said president Frank Coonelly, who is with the club in Philadelphia.
Lee is owed about $2.6 million on the one-year, $7.25 million contract he signed with Baltimore last winter. The Pirates will pick up all the money due to Lee on that contract, though the O's are going to be responsible for paying Lee's performance bonuses. Those bonuses are based on plate appearances.
"Pittsburgh is getting a good man, a good person and a guy that's starting to play pretty well," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. "So it's a good move for them and a good move for us. We like the guy we got back. But it's bittersweet for us."
Club mum on Overbay's status going forward
PHILADELPHIA -- Lyle Overbay walked out of Pirates manager Clint Hurdle's office on Sunday morning knowing no more than he did when he entered minutes earlier. What was discussed between the two was not revealed afterward, though if the Pirates are preparing to release Overbay upon Derrek Lee's arrival, it appears Overbay is unaware.
Lee is scheduled to join the club in Pittsburgh on Monday after tending to some family matters in Baltimore on Sunday. That meant the Pirates will not make a roster move until Monday. Overbay was in the lineup on Sunday, playing first base and hitting sixth.
The Pirates have not indicated what they plan to do with Overbay, who is playing on a one-year, $5 million contract.
The club could retain him to sit on the bench, as Lee is going to get the majority of playing time at first. Or, if the Bucs prefer to keep Steve Pearce, who is more flexible defensively, they could cut ties with Overbay altogether. If the Pirates were to release the veteran first baseman, they would have to pay the remainder of his 2011 salary.
Overbay's on-field production has been a disappointment. He entered Sunday batting just .227 with seven homers, 17 doubles and 35 RBIs in 102 games. The Cubs' Carlos Pena is the only starting first baseman in the National League with a lower batting average, though Pena has provided 20 homers.
Cedeno remains out, may be headed to DL
PHILADELPHIA -- Ronny Cedeno missed a third straight game on Sunday, prompting manager Clint Hurdle to note that the Pirates will likely have to decide about a potential disabled-list stint on Monday.
"We need people that can get on the field and help us win games," Hurdle said. "That's no disrespect to anybody that is not on the field, but we need bodies that can be used. He's hoping to take a bigger step forward today."
Cedeno injured his right leg on Thursday when he collided with Xavier Paul in shallow left field. He said his leg had improved some since Saturday, but Cedeno was unsure about whether he'd be able to field ground balls pain-free on Sunday. He was also slated to test his leg with various exercises.
With Cedeno sidelined, the Pirates have two players -- Brandon Wood and Pedro Ciriaco -- who can fill in at short. If Cedeno were to go on the DL, the Pirates would likely call up infielder Josh Harrison, since he is already on the organization's 40-man roster.
To make room for Derrek Lee on the 40-man roster, the Pirates moved catcher Ryan Doumit to the 60-day disabled list. That was purely a paper move. Because he has been sidelined for more than 60 games, Doumit can come off the DL whenever he is ready. This move will not push back his timetable.
Doumit caught nine innings in a rehab start with Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday. This marked the first time in Doumit's rehab stint that he had been behind the plate for a full game. Doumit has three hits in his last seven at-bats. He is expected to catch back-to-back games with Indianapolis early this week after pinch-hitting on Sunday.
Right-hander Kyle McPherson had another strong performance with Double-A Altoona on Saturday. McPherson lowered his season ERA to 2.88 by allowing one earned run in 6 2/3 innings. He struck out 10 while giving up four hits and one walk.
The Pirates have not yet announced what the next step will be for Ross Ohlendorf, who threw 73 pitches in a rehab outing on Friday.
The Pirates designated reliever Michael Crotta for assignment in order to clear a 40-man roster spot for outfielder Ryan Ludwick, who was acquired from the Padres on Sunday. Crotta was a surprise addition to the Opening Day roster and was with the Pirates until going on the disabled list in May. He returned to Triple-A Indianapolis when he came off the DL and has allowed seven earned runs in 11 2/3 innings.
Though the Pirates have not yet approached starter Paul Maholm about negotiating a contract extension, general manager Neal Huntington said the organization will look at the possibility of making him a part of the future.
"Paul has obviously been very open about his desire to stay here," Huntington said. "In a vacuum, it's a situation that we would like to see continue. We don't operate in vacuums. We've got to continue to see the process out. Paul has done a remarkable job for us this year. He's had a nice career here, and we'll look to see if we can have it continue. "
Maholm is in the final guaranteed year of his three-year deal. He has a $9.75 million club option for 2012.
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.