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Pirates notebook: No word yet on Taillon's elbow exam

Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon throws during a game against the Blue Jays Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Fla.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon throws during a game against the Blue Jays Friday, Feb. 28, 2014, at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Fla.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review - The Pirates' Starling Marte is hit by a pitch during the first inning against the Cubs on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, at PNC Park.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Christopher Horner  |  Tribune-Review</em></div>The Pirates' Starling Marte is hit by a pitch during the first inning against the Cubs on Wednesday, April 2, 2014, at PNC Park.

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 5:51 p.m.

Jameson Taillon, the Pirates' top pitcher prospect, got a second opinion on his sore right elbow Monday from Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles. The team has not yet revealed the results of the exam or how it will impact the start of Taillon's season in the minors.

“Still working through the process,” general manager Neal Huntington said Wednesday via text message. “Will pass along information when appropriate.”

Taillon was shut down two weeks ago during spring training. The initial exam by team doctors, which included an MRI, found no ligament damage.

Taillon is not listed on the Triple-A Indianapolis roster released Wednesday, and the right-hander was not mentioned in the accompanying news release. The release listed five “candidates” for Indy's season-opening starting rotation: Brandon Cumpton, Andy Oliver, Adam Wilk, Jake Brigham and Casey Sadler.

The second overall pick in 2010, Taillon last season went 4-7 with a 3.67 ERA in 20 outings for Double-A Altoona and 1-3 with a 3.89 ERA in six starts with Indy.

Wandy set for debut

When he takes the mound Thursday against the Chicago Cubs, left-hander Wandy Rodriguez will make his first start since June 5. He missed most of last season due to chronic forearm pain.

“I don't have a wait-and-see (approach). We're going to run him out there,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He's been in a good place all spring. This will be the next step. He's looking forward to it.”

Rodriguez looked fine in spring training, pitching 11 23 innings over four outings. He allowed four earned runs on 12 hits, walked five and struck out nine.

Snider in 2 hole

Monday marked Travis Snider's 60th game (out of 404) batting second in the order, and he went 0 for 3 with a walk. Last season, he was in that spot 33 times and hit .219 with a .276 on-base percentage.

Overall in his career, Snider has a .303 OBP. His rate was .383 over eight seasons in the minor leagues.

“We're optimistic the OBP will play out at the major league level close to what it was in the minors,” Hurdle said. “He's healthy. This spring, it was the best he'd moved around on the bases and in the outfield since we've had him. I liked the look of (Snider in the 2 hole) in spring training. We'll see how it plays out during the season.

Replay OK ... so far

MLB's expanded replay review system was used twice on Opening Day, with both calls going the Pirates' way. Hurdle did not voice any complaints with what he's seen of the setup so far.

“I keep my expectations in check because this is all new,” he said. “I know the umpires are making every effort to make this work. We (managers) are going to make sure we approach this representatively. It's new ground for everyone and we're all going to learn a lot. We'll see where it goes. It's already proved to be interesting.”

Blyleven can manage

Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven will manage the World Team in the All-Stars Futures Game at 5 p.m. July 13 at Target Field in Minneapolis. Blyleven pitched for the Pirates from 1978-80 and has been a Minnesota Twins broadcaster since 1996. Former Twins manager Tom Kelly will manage Team USA in the Futures Game. The rest of the coaching staffs for both teams will be announced this summer.

Around the horn

The Pirates are just the third team to have a pitcher amass 10 or more strikeouts on Opening Day in back-to-back seasons. Francisco Liriano got 10 whiffs Monday against the Cubs, and A.J. Burnett did it last year. ... The Pirates' top four minor league affiliates — Indy, Altoona, High-A Bradenton and Low-A West Virginia — are scheduled to begin their seasons Thursday.

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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