Pirates pregame: Will Jaso's familiarity with Verlander pay off?
DETROIT — John Jaso is in the starting lineup tonight for the first time since Aug. 1. He is hitless in his past six starts. As a starter, Jaso is batting .217 with a .674 OPS. Off the bench, he is batting .216 with an .825 OPS. Jaso smacked his third pinch-hit homer Monday.
Although he has only a .167 average against Justin Verlander, Jaso has more at-bats (18) against the Tigers righty than any other Pirate except Andrew McCutchen (18 at-bats, .167).
“That's part of the package of why we wanted John to get some at-bats tonight,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We also want John to get more at-bats sooner than later to keep him sharp. I think the last game here that he played against (Verlander), he had two hits, for whatever that's worth. We're getting John out there.”
Hurdle's unprintable nickname
MLB will relax its rules for uniforms when the Cardinals and Pirates play Aug. 20 in Williamsport and again during “players weekend” on Aug. 25-27. Hurdle, however, will use the same jersey as always.
“I'm not going to share with you the nickname I had as a kid because it will come back to haunt me,” Hurdle said. “It was just a neighborhood nickname and a family nickname. I actually got called out by a couple of people in the organization who didn't believe I don't have a nickname. So, I shared the nickname and they go, ‘Oh, we could never put that on a jersey.' And I said, ‘Exactly. Thank you. That's all I've got.' So, I guess I'm to work with ‘Clint' (on the jersey), if that's how it works.”
Safe at home
PNC Park is the ninth-safest ballpark in MLB in terms of food preparation and storage, according to a survey of health departments conducted by Sports Illustrated.
Citing data supplied by the Allegheny County Health Department, SI said there were 44 total violations last year at PNC Park — which was below MLB's median average of 52.
According to SI, “almost half of the total violations at PNC were critical, and most dealt with foods at dangerous temperatures. Entire coolers were measured at 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The USDA requires cold food be kept at 40 degrees or below.”
The three safest stadiums are Safeco Field (five violations) in Seattle, Fenway Park (30 violations) in Boston and Minute Maid Park (28 violations) in Houston.
WEDNESDAY, 7:10 p.m., at Comerica Park, Detroit. TV: AT&T Sportsnet. Radio: 93.7 FM, 1480 AM, Pirates Radio Network
PIRATES (56-57): Starling Marte 7, Adam Frazier 4, Andrew McCutchen 8, Josh Bell DH, Josh Harrison 5, Gregory Polanco 9, Jordy Mercer 6, John Jaso 3, Franciso Cervelli 2. RHP Ivan Nova (10-8, 3.66)
TIGERS (51-61): Ian Kinsler 4, Jim Adduci 9, Miguel Cabrera 3, Nicholas Castellanos 5, Mike Mahtook 8, Victor Martinez DH, John Hicks 2, Andrew Romine 7, Jose Iglesias 6. RHP Justin Verlander (7-7, 4.20)
THURSDAY, 1:10 p.m., at Comerica Park, Detroit. PIRATES RHP Gerrit Cole (9-8, 4.00) vs. TIGERS RHP Drew VerHagen (0-1, 5.00)
FRIDAY, 7:07 p.m. at Rogers Centre, Toronto. PIRATES RHP Jameson Taillon (6-5, 4.60) vs. BLUE JAYS RHP Marcus Stroman (10-5, 3.17)
SATURDAY, 1:07 p.m. at Rogers Centre, Toronto. PIRATES RHP Trevor Williams (5-4, 4.17) vs. BLUE JAYS TBA
SUNDAY, 1:07 p.m. at Rogers Centre, Toronto. PIRATES: RHP Chad Kuhl () vs. BLUE JAYS LHP J.A. Happ (5-8, 3.77)
Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.