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Pirates searching for another left-handed reliever

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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.

Monday, June 6, 2011

• Look for the Pirates to soon make a couple of roster moves, as manager Clint Hurdle wants to add a left-handed reliever. "We might need to look at rearranging our bullpen," Hurdle said Sunday. "We face a lot of teams with a lot of left-handed (batters), and there's not as many options as I'd like to have." Joe Beimel (elbow inflammation) is on the disabled list, leaving Daniel Moskos as the lone lefty in the pen. One option would be to designate Jose Ascanio (7.11 ERA in eight outings) for assignment and call up either Tony Watson (2-3, 2.57 ERA in 21 outings) or Justin Thomas (3-1, 4.68 ERA in 24 outings) from Triple-A Indianapolis. Watson already is on the 40-man roster.

• Pedro Alvarez (strained right quadriceps) has resumed playing third base in extended spring training in Bradenton, Fla. "He's moving fine and he's playing defense," general manager Neal Huntington said. "Everything is progressing fine." Huntington said Alvarez would "soon" be ready to begin a rehab assignment.

• Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf (right shoulder posterior strain) is throwing bullpen sessions in Bradenton. Huntington gave no indication when Ohlendorf would be ready for a rehab stint.

• The front office has made up its mind about who it will take today with the first overall pick in the draft, but Huntington did not want to tip his hand. "We don't want it to be used against us in (contract) negotiations," he said. "We've gone through our process and feel great about where we are."

• Sunday's game drew 35,505 fans, bringing the total attendance for the series against the Phillies to 108,807. It's the fourth-largest total for a three-game set at PNC Park.

• Charlie Morton has not allowed a home run in eight consecutive starts. He's the first Pirates pitcher to do that since Kris Benson, who was homer-free in his final 10 starts in 2004 before being traded to the New York Mets.

• Right-handed batters are hitting .186 against Morton, and lefties are .339 against him. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only one other pitcher in the majors who has faced at least 100 batters from both sides of the plate has a wider difference in batting averages. Cleveland's Carlos Carrasco is holding righties to a .214 average, but lefties are hitting .368.

• Left-hander Donnie Veal, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, was assigned to Double-A Altoona.

• Former Pirates pitcher Zach Duke (1-1, 3.00) is slated to start Wednesday for Arizona at PNC Park. The left-hander, who was traded to the Diamondbacks in November, missed the first month and a half of the season because of a broken hand.

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