06/29/10 11:48 PM ET
Gorzelanny meets ex-mates in return to rotation
By Jesse Sanchez / MLB.com
It will be up to Cubs pitcher Tom Gorzelanny and Co. to build on that success.
The former Pirate-turned-Cub -- a pitcher who has bounced from the starting rotation to the bullpen and back to the starting five this season -- will take the hill Wednesday against Pittsburgh's Brad Lincoln. Carlos Zambrano was originally scheduled to pitch for the Cubs, but he was placed on the restricted list.
Gorzelanny, who has not started since May 26, has made six relief appearances, including last Friday, when he went 3 1/3 innings. The Cubs have won only three of 11 games against the Bucs this season.
The Pirates could use a little relief. The club not only wants a win, it needs one to salvage a tough month. The team is 5-20 in June, including a 12-game losing streak and a 17-game road losing streak to deal with in the month.
"Hopefully we can end this first half on a little bit of a high note, get a few series wins over the next week or so," Andy LaRoche said. "Everything that could go wrong went wrong. But it's a long season. You've got to put that behind you. There's nothing you can do about it really."
As for Lincoln, he is still looking for his first Major League win. One of his biggest problems this season has been his propensity to hand leads back after Pittsburgh's offense puts him ahead.
"It's something I have to take on myself," Lincoln said. "To stop teams ... to not let them score. It's something I'm not getting done right now."
Pirates: LaRoche eyeing more playing time
Andy LaRoche made his Pirates debut at second base on Tuesday, and he might get another start or two at the position. He is attempting to make himself into a utility player to increase his playing time. The Pirates are hopeful that Bobby Crosby will be cleared to play in the next day or two, but for now, Pittsburgh will play without two second basemen. ... Five players from the Pirates' Double-A Altoona affiliate have been chosen to participate in the Eastern League All-Star Game on July 14. Catcher Tony Sanchez has been replaced on the All-Star Futures roster by catcher Hank Conger (Angels). Sanchez is unable to participate after having jaw surgery last week.
Cubs: Close games becoming commonplace
The Cubs have played in 42 games decided by two runs or fewer, and they are 16-26 in those games. ... The club has been involved in 29 one-run games in its first 76 games of the season. ... Jeff Baker has six hits in 10 at-bats as a pinch-hitter to lead all players in that category. ... The Cubs are 3-12 against the Pirates in their last 15 meetings. ... In his first 70 games this season, Alfonso Soriano hit .272. He hit .232 in his first 70 games last season.
Zambrano is not expected to rejoin the Cubs until after the All-Star break. ... The Cubs will be looking for a first baseman in 2011 unless they re-sign Derrek Lee, who will be a free agent after this season. Tyler Colvin, who played first base in high school and some in college, could be an option, but he is staying in the outfield for now. ... Pirates outfielder Ryan Church is still dealing with an inner right thigh bruise from Friday's collision with Neil Walker. ... Pirates reliever Brendan Donnelly has now pitched in 32 different ballparks in his career.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.