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Bucs' Capps avoids trip to disabled list

CHICAGO — Pirates closer Matt Capps, making a dramatic recovery from a scary-looking injury, will not have to go on the disabled list.

"I don't think I ever thought about the disabled list," manager John Russell said Wednesday. "We didn't think it was going to be a two-week thing. He felt good enough to play some catch today, and that's a great sign."

Capps was struck by a line drive on his right elbow during Monday night's game against the Chicago Cubs. The ball ricocheted toward the Cubs' dugout, and the near-sellout crowd fell into a hush as Capps was helped off the field in obvious pain.

Late yesterday morning, Capps tested his bruised elbow by throwing long toss — about 25 throws from 120 feet on flat ground — at Wrigley Field.

"No pain right now," Capps said about a half-hour after his workout. "It felt pretty good (throwing). We'll see how it feels tomorrow. Hopefully, I'll be able to throw off a mound tomorrow."

The Pirates are off today, but Capps will attempt a side session at PNC Park. If Capps doesn't have much residual pain and stiffness after the workout, he should be game-ready within a couple of days.

Russell said he did not expect Capps to be available Friday, when the Pirates open a three-game home series against the Houston Astros.

Left-hander John Grabow will fill in as the closer until Capps returns. Russell also said he was encouraged by how the rest of the bullpen has stepped up its performance during the just-completed, 10-game road trip.

"They've come a long way," Russell said. "(Jesse) Chavez has done a great job. Evan Meek has been more consistent. (Tom) Gorzelanny has done a nice job in that role."

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