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Pirates notebook: Rookie McPherson surprised to get critical start

| Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, 7:53 p.m.
Christopher Horner
Pirates pitcher Kyle McPherson will start against the Brewers on Wednesday. (Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review)

Right-hander Kyle McPherson is set to make his first start in the second game of the Pirates' brief homestand, a situation he never thought he'd find himself in at the beginning of the season.

“Starting the year off being injured and coming back from that, being in Double-A and getting some starts under my belt, at no point did I think I'd be in this position,” said the 24-year-old, who didn't make his first start until June 16 because of right shoulder inflammation. “Every player looks forward to it, but I was just focused on day-to-day and doing what I needed to do to succeed.”

McPherson, the Pirates' 2011 minor league pitcher of the year, went 3-6 with a 2.48 in 12 starts between Double-A and Triple-A and is 0-0 with a 1.54 ERA in seven major league appearances, all in relief this year.

“He's a power guy, and he can run his fastball arm-side as well as glove-side, he can snap the breaking ball and incorporate the changeup,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “I think this is a young man we think very highly of, and he has a pretty good opportunity in a very meaningful game.”

• The Pirates' flight home from Chicago touched down in Pittsburgh at 5:40 a.m. on Tuesday, and many of the players didn't get home until after 7 a.m. “That was a long delay, just throwing it out there because I've been through a few,” Hurdle said.

• Neil Walker was back in the starting lineup after getting the day off Monday. Walker, who missed 16 straight games, said his back was OK, but he was sore after two long games Saturday and Sunday. “It's really going to be day-to-day type stuff,” he said.

— Karen Price

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