Pirates notebook: Hurdle doesn’t regret pulling Rodriguez
By Rob Biertempfel
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012, 7:18 p.m.
Updated: Wednesday, September 12, 2012
CINCINNATI — The numbers were in the Pirates' favor in the seventh inning Monday, but the outcome worked better for the Cincinnati Reds.
With the Pirates leading, 3-1, the Reds had runners on first and second with two outs. With switch-hitter Dioner Navarro at the plate, manager Clint Hurdle replaced starter Wandy Rodriguez, who had been dominant up to that point, with right-handed reliever Jared Hughes.
“We wanted to flip a switch-hitter who's better right-handed than left-handed,” Hurdle said.
Navarro's career splits supported Hurdle's decision. Against left-handed pitchers, Navarro has a .259 batting average and a .744 on-base plus slugging percentage. Against right-handers, he hits .239 with a .633 OPS.
Navarro looped a two-run, game-tying double. The Reds went on to win, 4-3, in 14 innings. Despite pitching perhaps his best game of the season, Rodriguez wound up with a tough no-decision.
“I felt pretty good (Tuesday) and I think I could've finished that inning,” Rodriguez said. “I think I could've gotten him out. But (Hurdle) made his decision.”
After the game, Hurdle had no regrets.
“It's the second-worst feeling for a manager when you make that move and it doesn't work,” Hurdle said. “The worst one is when you leave the pitcher in and the guy hits a home run.”
• RHP Jeff Karstens (sore hip pointer) threw a 30-pitch warm-up and a 30-pitch simulated game Tuesday without problem. “It was good to be out there and be pain-free,” said Karstens, who used all his pitches. The session included a few plays when Karstens had to break off the mound to cover first base. At the end of the simulated game, Karstens threw five fastballs to Neil Walker, who batted left-handed to test his sore lower back. The Pirates have not yet determined when or if Karstens will return to the starting rotation.
• Because of the off day Thursday, LHP Jeff Locke's next start will be moved back one day to Sunday against the Chicago Cubs. Rodriguez will pitch Saturday on normal rest.
• Chris Leroux, Jared Hughes and Chris Resop were not available Tuesday out of the bullpen. All three relievers got extensive work Monday in the 14-inning game. Even though the game went extra-long, the Pirates still had a nearly full bullpen because of recent call-ups from the minors.
— Rob Biertempfel
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