Clint Hurdle was unclear on the identity of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting pitcher Wednesday night against the Colorado Rockies.
“That’s for me to know,” he said.
What is clear is that the Pirates rotation doesn’t appear as solid as it did early this season. Chris Archer started Tuesday, and Jordan Lyles will do the same Thursday against the Rockies, but that’s as much information as Hurdle wants to release.
The schedule isn’t waiting for starters Jameson Taillon and Trevor Williams to get healthy. Taillon (elbow strain) isn’t eligible to pitch until July 1 at the earliest. Williams (side strain) likely will take his absence into June after suffering the injury while swinging the bat during a game Thursday in San Diego.
Meanwhile, the Pirates are starting a stretch of 14 games in 13 days, including a Memorial Day doubleheader Monday in Cincinnati.
Will Hurdle use the opener method again by starting with a pitcher who works only an inning or two and following him with five other relievers?
It worked well Saturday in San Diego, with rookie Montana DuRapau starting and throwing two scoreless innings in a 7-2 victory.
But that can take a toll on the bullpen.
Hurdle said he will wait to see how Tuesday’s game turned out before finalizing any plans for Wednesday.
“We’re going to play (Tuesday’s) game and see where it takes us,” he said. “We may have an opener. We may not. We have all kinds of intentions. Sometimes, they don’t map out.
“We have a plan in place we’ll try and follow. If it matches up, it matches up.”
Hurdle said bullpen usage will factor into his thinking.
“We’ll make every attempt to do what we need to do out of the bullpen (Tuesday). That could eliminate some people,” he said.
Then, he added, “Might not,” intentionally trying to be vague.
“Somebody could pitch (Tuesday) and pitch (Wednesday). We’ve done it multiple times this year.”
Good news on Dickerson
Left fielder Corey Dickerson, who has been on the injured list since April 4 with a shoulder strain, was encouraged by his throwing session before the game Tuesday that required him to throw to bases from the outfield.
“I feel great,” Dickerson said after his workout. “I’m really happy about it. Great news.”
He said, however, he has no timetable for his return to the lineup.
“I have to do it again, keep progressing,” he said.
The Pirates were forced to deal with another injury-related absence Tuesday when right fielder Gregory Polanco was pulled from the starting lineup with finger discomfort in his left hand.
Polanco suffered the injury Sunday when he jammed his hand in the game against the San Diego Padres.
After announcing a starting lineup earlier in the afternoon that included Polanco, the Pirates pulled him, moved Melky Cabrera from left to right field and started Bryan Reynolds in left.
The Pirates have placed 20 players on the injured list this season, with 10 still on it.