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Pirates' Pearce out indefinitely with strained calf

SARASOTA, Fla. — Pirates first baseman Steve Pearce is out indefinitely with a strained right calf.

Pearce has sat out seven games since Feb. 26, when he went 0 for 2 against the Red Sox. The Pirates did not disclose his injury until this afternoon, when manager John Russell was asked again about Pearce's absence.

"The calf is still bothering him," Russell said. "He's on hold until we get the soreness out."

Pearce is taking batting practice, but has not yet been cleared to play in games.

With Adam LaRoche entrenched at first base and Eric Hinske available as a backup, there is little chance Pearce will make the team even if he was fully healthy. The Pirates want him to get regular at-bats — the place to do that is Triple-A Indianapolis — before deciding on his future with the club.

Pearce, 26, has appeared in 59 games for the Pirates over the past two seasons. An eighth-round draft pick in 2005, Pearce made a dramatic ascent though the farm system two years ago.

He began the 2007 season with Class A Lynchburg. He was promoted to Double- and Triple-A — putting up solid hitting numbers along the way — and finished the year in Pittsburgh.

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