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Pirates send Taillon to disabled list

Rob Biertempfel
| Saturday, May 6, 2017, 7:12 p.m.

The Pirates on Saturday put right-hander Jameson Taillon on the 10-day disabled list because of a sore groin.

The team said Taillon's discomfort is not related to the hernia surgery he had in July 2015.

Right-hander Trevor Williams will start in place of Taillon on Monday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Righty Josh Lindblom was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis. He was active for Saturday's game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

In five games (four starts) with Indy, Lindblom went 0-2 with a 2.50 ERA and racked up 14 strikeouts in 18 innings. He left his start April 29 after being hit on the left foot by a comebacker.

Lindblom, 29, was signed as a minor league free agent Jan. 13 and was a nonroster invitee to spring training. He pitched in Korea in 2015 and '16.

Bell tinkers

Josh Bell describes himself as “a feel guy” when it comes to batting.

The mechanics that work fine on a given day might not be as comfortable for him on the next. So, Bell spends a lot of time tweaking his swing.

“This is who I am,” Bell said. “Tinker-Bell was my nickname from the minors.”

Two weeks into the season, Bell was batting .200 with almost as many strikeouts (six) as hits (eight). He was unable to handle fastballs that last season he crushed.

Sometimes, Bell rushed his body forward too quickly toward the ball. Other times, he kept his weight back too long and got his bat into the hitting zone too late.

It was time for some changes.

“I found myself with my back against the wall,” Bell said. “The game's a lot simpler when I'm not fighting myself in the box, when I'm not forcing my body into a position to hit. It (should be) more of a free swing.”

Hitting coach Jeff Branson stressed that Bell needed to get his lead foot planted sooner.

“It's a matter of him getting grounded, so he can read the pitch and put the bat to the ball,” Branson said.

Bell went hitless in the first two games of the series last week in Cincinnati. Working with Branson, he eliminated his stride in order to get his foot down early. Things seemed to turn around, as he went 3 for 7 over the next two games against the Reds.

In Friday's game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Bell switched to a heavier bat (35 inches, 32 ounces) than the one he'd used last week (34 inches, 31 ounces).

He stuck out swinging in the first inning. During a 21⁄2-hour rain delay, Bell went into the indoor batting cage with Gregory Polanco.

“It was just me and him in there,” Bell said. “I talked things through with Polanco, took some swings, and it carried over into the game.”

Bell doubled in the fourth inning, then hit a 400-foot solo homer in the fifth. The home run ball bounced on the concourse, rolled down the grassy slope outside of PNC Park and plopped into the Allegheny River.

“I'm still fine-tuning to where I was last year when I was going off,” Bell said. “I'm trying to get away from being long in my initial move toward the ball. It's a work in progress, but (Friday) shows I'm taking steps in the right direction.”

Kuhl in a rut

Right-hander Chad Kuhl (1-2) hasn't won in five starts since his season debut April 8 against the Atlanta Braves. His past three outings have been especially trying.

On April 24, Kuhl was rocked for nine runs in 12⁄3 innings by the Chicago Cubs. Six days later, he was nursing a one-run lead in the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins when Dee Gordon's liner struck him on the right knee.

“You want to put that really bad game out of your sights and have a rebound game,” Kuhl said. “I was throwing all right in Miami, felt like I was going to go five or six (innings), but had to be taken out.”

Kuhl was able to make his next scheduled start Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers. He tossed three shutout innings, but the long rain delay brought his night to a premature end.

“Mother Nature didn't cooperate,” Kuhl said. “It's a little frustrating.”

Kuhl's next start will come Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Rubber-armed Rivero

Through Friday, Felipe Rivero made 17 relief appearances, which tied him for most in the majors with Jerry Blevins of the New York Mets and Jose Alvarez of the Los Angeles Angels.

However, Rivero had tossed more innings (171⁄3) than Blevins (11) or Alvarez (112⁄3).

“We're monitoring it,” Hurdle said. “I believe (Rivero) is in a good place.”

Hurdle admitted Rivero probably has been used a bit more than Hurdle would have liked. Rivero has not pitched in four consecutive games, although he's twice tossed three in a row.

“That's aggressive for us,” Hurdle said. “We trust Felipe's read on it daily. There's been times we've backed away. He shares how he feels with us all the time. We trust him.”

Last season, Rivero pitched in 75 games, including 28 with the Pirates. He made 49 outings as a rookie in 2015.

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon delivers during the first inning against the Reds Tuesday, April 11, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon delivers during the first inning against the Reds Tuesday, April 11, 2017, at PNC Park.
Pirates pitcher Trevor Williams talks with starters Chad Kuhl and Tyler Glasnow in the dugout during a game against the Brewers Saturday, May 6, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Trevor Williams talks with starters Chad Kuhl and Tyler Glasnow in the dugout during a game against the Brewers Saturday, May 6, 2017, at PNC Park.
Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole is caught in a run-down during the sixth inning against the Brewers Saturday, May 6, 2017, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates pitcher Gerrit Cole is caught in a run-down during the sixth inning against the Brewers Saturday, May 6, 2017, at PNC Park.
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