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Pirates skipper Hurdle tinkers with rotation

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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.

Thursday, May 26, 2011
 

With Thursday being an off day, manager Clint Hurdle tweaked the starting rotation, moving Jeff Karstens (who'll pitch Sunday against the Chicago Cubs) behind Kevin Correia (Friday) and Paul Maholm (Saturday).

"It's five days off (between starts) for everybody but Karstens," Hurdle said. "I didn't want to push anybody past five. More often than not, that fifth guy is the one who'll be moved around when situations (dictate)."

Wednesday was Karstens' day to pitch a side session, but he instead tossed two innings in relief and took the loss against the Atlanta Braves.

» In 21 spring training games, Lyle Overbay hit .368 with four homers and 13 RBI. But after going 2 for 4 on Wednesday, Overbay has a .235 batting average and 16 RBI in 47 games. The problems are mechanical.

"In spring training, his timing was spot-on all the time — foot down, small movements, short to the ball and long through it," Hurdle said. "Now, there's been some inconsistencies with his timing. His foot gets down late, it's a quick, shortened swing, the barrel can be out of the zone. He's working to get back. It's been frustrating and challenging for him."

» Reliever Evan Meek struck out the side Tuesday in his first game since coming off the disabled list. However, Hurdle cautioned against reading too much into that outing.

"I don't want to over-hype the three strikeouts," Hurdle said. "Everything needs to be looked at through a clean lens. He didn't face the 3-4-5 guys in the order. He threw his pitches; that's what pleased me. The velocity was a tick down, but I think it will pick up. I don't want to make any more of it than the fact that he struck out three. Strikeouts can be eye-catching, but they need to be kept in context."

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