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Status unknown for injured Pirates McCutchen, McDonald

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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.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — In a span of a few minutes Friday, the Pirates saw their star center fielder and an important part of their starting rotation go down with injuries.

Outfielder Andrew McCutchen played the first two innings of an 8-7 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays, then left with soreness in his left wrist. Right-hander James McDonald clutched his left side after throwing a pitch in the bottom of the third and slowly walked off the field with trainer Brad Henderson.

Both players were whisked away to the spring training complex in Bradenton for medical exams. The Pirates have released no further details.

When asked after the game how McCutchen was injured, manager Clint Hurdle said: "We don't know. I don't talk about injuries. Normally, information doesn't get accurate until later on. I'm not a doctor."

McCutchen went 2 for 2 with a run scored and one RBI. He did not make any plays in the field. In 10 games this spring, McCutchen is hitting .280 (7 for 25) with four RBI.

Against the Rays, McDonald worked two-plus innings and allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits. He has a 4.05 ERA this spring.

Hurdle said he was "not going to speculate" about the possible impact either injury might have on the Pirates' roster-building process this spring.

A long-lasting injury to McDonald would have ripple effects throughout the pitching staff. Righty Charlie Morton, the front-runner for the No. 5 spot, almost certainly would clinch a rotation job.

Lefty Scott Olsen was supposed to compete with Morton but has been sidelined by a strained hamstring. Instead of ending up in the bullpen, Olsen might be needed to round out the rotation.

Olsen yesterday threw his second round of live batting practice without problem.

If Olsen becomes a starter, the only veteran left-hander in the bullpen would be Joe Beimel — who hasn't pitched yet this spring because of a sore forearm.

Beimel threw about 30 pitches in live batting practice yesterday at McKechnie Field. He felt no discomfort and will make his spring training debut Monday against the Baltimore Orioles.

Doumit sits

Ryan Doumit was diagnosed with a right oblique strain, which he first felt Wednesday during batting practice.

He has been shut down since then and will be out until at least next Wednesday, when he'll be re-examined.

"It feels like a little bee sting," Doumit said. "It's not serious, but I know how these oblique injuries can be. If you're not careful with it, it can turn into a long-term thing."

Tidal wave

Reliever Tyler Yates, who lives in Koloa, Hawaii, said his extended family and house were safe from the tsunami that swept across the Pacific Ocean yesterday.

"We're about three miles inland and on the side of a hill," Yates said.

Players crowded around a wall-mounted TV in the clubhouse, watching coverage of the earthquake in Japan and the tsunami.

Pirates score late, win

The Pirates scored a run in the top of the ninth inning to beat the Rays, 8-7. Steve Pearce's single drove in Andrew Lambo with the game-winning run. ... John Bowker had a pinch-hit, two-run homer in the sixth, extending his hitting streak to five games. ... The Pirates blew leads of 4-0 and 7-2. ... Left-hander Brian Burres tossed three scoreless innings. He hasn't allowed a run in nine innings this spring.

Additional Information:

Scouting report

Today's games:

Phillies vs. Pirates

1:05 p.m., McKechnie Field, Bradenton, Fla.

Phillies starter: RHP Vance Worley

Pirates starter: RHP Ross Ohlendorf

Pirates at Blue Jays

1:05 p.m., Florida Auto Exchange Stadium, Dunedin, Fla.

Pirates starter: LHP Jeff Locke

Blue Jays starter: LHP Ricky Romero

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