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Pittsburgh Pirates Player Notes
For The Last 365 Days
 
Neil Walker, 2BHot4/15/2014 10:36:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker continued his home run binge with another long ball Tuesday in the second game of a double-header.
Insight: That gives Walker five blasts in 58 at bats this season. Last season, Walker didn't hit his fifth home run until June 12th. Walker's .310 batting average is a noticeable improvement from the .265 clip he hit for in 2013.
Neil Walker, 2B4/15/2014 9:05:00 PM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker finished 3-for-5 with two homers in Monday's game against the Reds, which was suspended due to rain and completed on Tuesday.
Insight: Walker hit six homers in his final nine games last year and now he has started off with four in his first 13 games this season.
Russell Martin, C4/15/2014 11:36:00 AM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin is a lifetime .474 hitter with a home run against Reds starter Mike Leake.
Insight: After a hot series against the Cubs (4-for-7, 2 HR), Martin is just 2-for-11 over his last three games. This matchup could get him going again.
Russell Martin, CHot4/14/2014 10:05:00 AM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin is a lifetime .357 hitter with a pair of homers against Reds starter Homer Bailey.
Insight: Martin posted a six home run April in 2013 and is off to a .281 start this season with a four-game hitting streak, 25 points above his career numbers. Bad weather is in the forecast, however, so be prepared to make changes if you plan on starting him.
Russell Martin, C4/13/2014 10:44:00 AM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin will not be in the starting nine Sunday against Milwaukee. SOURCE: Pirates on Twitter
Insight: Martin's four-game hitting streak will have to be put on hold for 24 hours. Tony Sanchez (.333, 0 HR, 4 RBI) is making his fourth start of the season behind home plate.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B4/12/2014 10:24:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is just 1-for-20 (.050) with nine strikeouts against Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo.
Insight: The 27-year-old, who tied for the NL lead with 36 bombs last season, already has five homers, 10 RBI and eight runs. But this is an extremely unfavorable matchup to be avoided.
Pedro Alvarez, 3BHot4/10/2014 9:20:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez went 1-for-5, but his one hit was a big three-run homer Thursday against the Cubs.
Insight: Alvarez' shot came in the top of the seventh inning and put the Pirates ahead 5-4. The 27-year-old, who tied for the NL lead with 36 bombs last season, already has five homers, 10 RBI and eight runs. Alvarez also has a 6/6 K/BB (14.6% K rate) in 41 plate appearances; his K rate ranged from 30.3% to 30.7% in each of the last three years.
Gerrit Cole, SP4/10/2014 8:58:00 PM
Description: The Pirates' offense came alive in the top of the seventh inning Thursday at Chicago to get Gerrit Cole his second win of the season.
Insight: Cole struck out 10 batters and allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits in six innings Thursday but was down 4-0 until Pittsburgh put up five runs in the seventh. He has a 3.46 ERA and a 13/4 K/BB in 13 innings this season.
Russell Martin, C4/10/2014 12:55:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin, he of the two home run night on Wednesday, is not in Thursday's starting lineup.
Insight: Normal day game after a night game off for a catcher. Martin had done nothing until last night and is batting .292 with two homers and six RBI.
Andrew McCutchen, CF4/10/2014 9:55:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen is just a career .111 hiiter (2-for-18) versus Cibs starter travis Wood.
Insight: Wood has struck him out five times and walked him five times as he's pitched him very tough.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B4/10/2014 9:52:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez had another two-homer game Wednesday against the Cubs, but has an unfavorable matchup on Thursday.
Insight: Alvarez is just 1-for-15 (.067) with six strikeouts against Cubs starter Travis Wood. The Pirates slugger has continued where he left off last season (36 HR), but this matchup should be avoided.
Pedro Alvarez, 3BHot4/9/2014 10:52:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez had another two-homer game Wednesday against the Cubs.
Insight: He also hit two round-trippers on April 4 and has gone 6-for-15 with four homers, seven RBI and a 1/6 K/BB in his last five games.
Andrew McCutchen, CF4/8/2014 1:32:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen is a career .381 hiiter (8-for-21) with two homers versus Cibs starter Edwin Jackson.
Insight: McCutchen has gone 5-for-23 (.217) with six Ks and six BBs in his first six games this season, so perhaps this will get him going.
Jameson Taillon, SP4/6/2014 1:19:00 PM
Description: According to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pirates pitching prospect Jameson Taillon will undergo Tommy John surgery.
Insight: Pittsburgh picked Taillon with the second overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, one year before they took Gerrit Cole first overall. However, Cole reached the big leagues first. Taillon has posted a 3.72 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and a 356/112 K/B in 382 innings in the minors, and his MLB debut will now be put off indefinitely.
Russell Martin, C4/6/2014 11:04:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin will get Sunday off to rest after catching a night game Saturday. Tony Sanchez will catch Edinson Volquez. SOURCE: Bill Brink, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: Martin will miss facing Adam Wainwright; he has gone 9-for-22 (.409) with two doubles and four walks against the Cardinals right-hander.
Russell Martin, C4/6/2014 9:39:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin is just 3-for-17 (.176) this season but he has great numers against Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright.
Insight: Martin has gone 9-for-22 (.409) with two doubles and four walks against Wainwright.
Andrew McCutchen, CF4/6/2014 9:38:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen has amassed 12 hits (four 2B, one 3B, one HR) in 28 at-bats against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright.
Insight: That's a .429 average. McCutchen has gone 4-for-19 (.211) with five Ks and six BBs in his first five games this season.
Edinson Volquez, SP4/3/2014 8:53:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh will hand the ball to right-hander Edinson Volquez Sunday versus St. Louis. SOURCE: Dan Zangrilli, 93.7 The Fan
Insight: Volquez tossed two innings of shutout ball Thursday in his season debut. His 5.71 ERA in 2013 was among the worst in the major leagues.
Russell Martin, C4/3/2014 11:20:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin will get Thursday afternoon off after last night's 16-inning marathon.
Insight: Martin went 0-for-6 and is just 1-for-10 to open the season. Last year he hit six homers in 24 April games and showed some early fantasy value.
Andrew McCutchen, CF4/2/2014 10:10:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen is a career .400 hitter with a pair of homers and a 1.278 OPS against Cubs starter Edwin Jackson.
Insight: McCutchen has been a consistent performer over the past three seasons. With a .317 average, 21 HR, 97 runs, 84 RBI and 27 SB in 157 games, McCutchen was a box score filler.
Francisco Liriano, SP3/31/2014 9:42:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Francisco Liriano took a no decision Monday against the Cubs despite throwing six shutout innings with 10 strikeouts.
Insight: Jeff Samardzija was fantastic for the other side and the Pirates ended up winning 1-0 in 10 innings. Monday's results are exactly what we want to see from Liriano early in the season. He had a 3.02 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and 163 Ks in 161 innings in 2013 but put up an ERA above five in three of the previous four years.
Francisco Liriano, SP3/27/2014 5:53:00 PM
Description: According to mlb.com, the Pirates move to send pitcher Brandon Cumpton to the minors on Thursday is an indication that Francisco Liriano (groin) has received the green light to start on Opening Day.
Insight: Liriano left his last start due to left groin tightness, but he was able to throw a successful simulated game Wednesday. The lefty resurrected his career with a 16-8 record, a 3.02 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and 163 strikeouts in 161 innings last season after posting an ERA north of five in 2009, 2011 and 2012 with the Twins.
Francisco Liriano, SP3/26/2014 12:06:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh left-hander Francisco Liriano (groin) said he is "good to go" after he threw 55 pitches in a three-inning simulated game Wednesday, according to Tom Singer of mlb.com.
Insight: Liriano left his last start due to left groin tightness, but he's expected to start Opening Day against the Cubs. The lefty resurrected his career with a 16-8 record, a 3.02 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and 163 strikeouts in 161 innings last season after posting an ERA north of five in 2009, 2011 and 2012 with the Twins.
Starling Marte, LF3/26/2014 11:40:00 AM
Description: The Pirates have signed Starling Marte to a six-year, $31 million contract, according to Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio.
Insight: The deal begins in 2014, so it replaces the salary Marte was supposed to make this year. The 25-year-old hit .280 with 12 home runs, 35 RBI, 83 runs, 41 steals and a .784 OPS in 135 games last season, which was his first full one in the majors.
Vance Worley, SPCold3/25/2014 5:37:00 PM
Description: The Twins have traded Vance Worley to the Pirates for cash considerations.
Insight: Pittsburgh assigned Worley to minor league camp. Worley was Minnesota's Opening Day starter last season but went 1-5 with a 7.21 ERA and a 1.99 WHIP in 10 starts and had a miserable spring.
Jameson Taillon, RP3/23/2014 2:19:00 PM
Description: According to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pirates GM Neal Huntington said pitching prospect Jameson Taillon doesn't have ligament damage in his sore elbow.
Insight: Taillon will go for a second opinion. Pittsburgh picked Taillon with the second overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft, one year before they took Gerrit Cole first overall. However, Cole reached the big leagues first. Taillon has posted a 3.72 ERA, a 1.22 WHIP and a 356/112 K/B in 382 innings in the minors and is expected to make his major league debut this season if he's healthy.
Francisco Liriano, SP3/20/2014 9:15:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh left-hander Francisco Liriano had to leave Thursday's game early after landing awkwardly on one of his pitches. SOURCE: Rob Biertempfel, Pittsburgh Tribune
Insight: It sounds like he may have sprained his ankle. For the most part, Liriano has looked pretty good this spring. In four appearances, he owns a 2.31 ERA with ten strikeouts and four walks.
Edinson Volquez, SP3/16/2014 5:32:00 PM
Description: Edinson Volquez is expected to land a spot in the Pirates rotation, according to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Insight: Volquez has a 11 ERA and a 2.11 WHIP in nine innings this spring after going 9-12 with a 5.71 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP last year. There's no reason to draft him in any leagues. Jeff Locke will be bumped to the bullpen or Triple-A.
Russell Martin, CHot3/14/2014 4:43:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin is on fire this spring, batting .444 with four homers in 18 at-bats.
Insight: Martin exploded out of the gate last season with six April homers, but it was downhill from there. He's swing a hot bat and that might be worth something for the first few weeks this year as well.
Francisco Liriano, SP2/18/2014 7:43:00 PM
Description: The Pirates will go with lefthander Francisco Liriano on Opening Day. SOURCE: Jayson Stark, ESPN
Insight: He'll get the nod March 31st against the Cubs. Liriano was a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners last season. His 3.02 ERA over 161 innings was his first sub-five ERA since 2010.
A.J. Burnett, SP2/7/2014 9:29:00 PM
Description: Free agent righthander A.J. Burnett would prefer to pitch in the National League. SOURCE: Roch Kubatko, MASN
Insight: That means he probably won't be pitching for Baltimore in 2014. The Orioles were interested but the feeling doesn't appear to be mutual. Burnett has narrowed his search down to two teams: Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The Pirates, the team Burnett pitched for last season, are considered the favorites.
A.J. Burnett, SP2/2/2014 4:52:00 PM
Description: The Orioles, Phillies and Pirates are considered the frontrunners to land free agent starting pitcher A.J. Burnett. SOURCE: Nick Cafardo, Boston Globe
Insight: The Blue Jays and Rays are also thought to be in the mix. Burnett spent his last two seasons in Pittsburgh though that doesn't necessarily make the Pirates the favorites. The 37-year-old flirted with retirement this offseason so it's unlikely he'll be looking for anything longer than a one-year contract.
A.J. Burnett, SP1/28/2014 7:25:00 PM
Description: According to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, free agent A.J. Burnett will pitch at least one more season in the major leagues.
Insight: A few months ago Burnett (10-11, 3.30 ERA in 191 IP for Pittsburgh in 2013) was strongly considering retirement but apparently he's decided to give baseball one more shot. The 37-year-old has plenty left in the tank and it's likely he'll be scooped up by someone before spring training.
Chris Dickerson, LF1/6/2014 11:25:00 AM
Description: The Pirates signed outfielder/DH Chris Dickerson to a minor league contract.
Insight: Dickerson looked promising early in his Cincinnati days, but his time with Milwaukee, the Yankees and Baltimore have not panned out. He'll likely start the season at Triple-A.
Clint Barmes, SS12/12/2013 10:01:00 PM
Description: The Pirates were able to re-sign shortstop Clint Barmes on Thursday. SOURCE: Buster Olney, ESPN
Insight: It's a one-year deal worth $2 million. Aside from a fluke 23 HR-season for Colorado in 2009, Barmes has never been on the fantasy radar.
Charlie Morton, SP12/11/2013 8:20:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton has agreed to a three-year, $21 million extension. SOURCE: Yahoo Sports
Insight: His contract was going to be up at the end of the 2014 season. Morton's last two seasons have been cut short by injuries. He owns a 4.70 ERA in 109 career big league appearances.
Edinson Volquez, SP12/11/2013 8:14:00 PM
Description: The Pirates inked righthander Edinson Volquez to a one-year deal on Wednesday. SOURCE: Ken Rosenthal, Fox Sports
Insight: He'll earn $5 million next season. Volquez hasn't been fantasy relevant since 2007 when he won 17 games for Cincinnati. In 33 appearances last season, Volquez went 9-12 with a 5.71 ERA. He figures to be a back of the rotation starter/long relief option for Pittsburgh in 2014.
Justin Morneau, 1B12/3/2013 9:03:00 PM
Description: The Rockies are close to signing Justin Morneau to a two-year contract. SOURCE: Troy Renck, Denver Post
Insight: Morneau hasn't been an All-Star since 2010 and the .259 clip he hit for last season was well below his career average (.277). Then again, if he was ever going to have a bounceback season, hitter-friendly Coors Field is the perfect park for him to do it in.
Chris Stewart, C12/2/2013 8:56:00 PM
Description: The Yankees dealt catcher Ian Stewart to the Pirates on Monday. SOURCE: Jon Heyman, CBS Sports
Insight: The Pirates are giving the Yanks a player to be named later. With Brian McCann inked to a five-year contract, Stewart was only going to be a backup if he stayed in New York. Then again, that's all he'll be in Pittsburgh with Russell Martin slated to get the lion's share of the work behind the plate.
Justin Morneau, 1B11/30/2013 4:10:00 PM
Description: The Rockies are hoping to sign free agent first baseman Justin Morneau before the Winter Meetings begin on December 9th. SOURCE: Troy Renck, Denver Post
Insight: Morneau (.259, 17 HR, 77 RBI) was a borderline fantasy player last season and he should see a nice boost in production from the hitter-friendly conditions at Coors Field, assuming the two sides can work out a deal. Morneau would be replacing Todd Helton at first base.
Garrett Jones, 1B11/25/2013 2:03:00 PM
Description: Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones has been designated for assignment.
Insight: Jones hit .233 last season, but has some pop in his bat with 15 HR and 51 RBI in 403 at-bats. He hit 27 homers in 2012, but the Pirates obviously didn't want to pay the price needed to keep him.
Andrew McCutchen, CF11/14/2013 8:55:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen has been named the 2013 National League MVP.
Insight: McCutchen was instrumental in leading the Pirates back to the playoffs for the first time in 21 years. With a .317 average, 21 HR and 27 SB in 157 games, McCutchen was arguably the most complete player in either league this season.
A.J. Burnett, SP11/5/2013 8:45:00 PM
Description: According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, free agent starter A.J. Burnett is strongly considering retirement.
Insight: Burnett only wants to play for the Pirates but that's unlikely to happen after the team declined to give him a qualifying offer before Monday's deadline. The 36-year-old is coming off arguably his best season after leading the team in strikeouts (209) and innings pitched (191).
Francisco Liriano, SP11/4/2013 10:33:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh ace Francisco Liriano took home Comeback Player of the Year honors for the National League.
Insight: Liriano won 16 games for the Pirates a year after going 6-12 with Minnesota. He went 1-0 in the playoffs with a 2.08 ERA in two starts.
Gerrit Cole, SPHot10/10/2013 9:53:00 AM
Description: It may not have come in a winning effort but Gerrit Cole gave the Pirates everything he had Wednesday in Game 5.
Insight: For the most part, Cole (5 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 5 K's, 1 BB) was matching Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright pitch for pitch. His lone blemish came in the second inning when he allowed a two-run homer to David Freese. Cole had his ups and downs early but he finished the season with a flourish. Even though he doesn't strike out a lot of hitters, Cole has the mental toughness to be one of the best pitchers in the National League someday. Expect him to have a huge season in 2014.
Francisco Liriano, SP10/9/2013 6:53:00 PM
Description: Game 3 starter Francisco Liriano will be available out of the pen should Pirates rookie Gerrit Cole run into trouble on Wednesday night. SOURCE: Stan McNeal, Fox Sports Midwest
Insight: While we're not expecting Clint Hurdle to pull a Joe Maddon, Cole will probably be on a pretty short leash. Liriano is 1-0 this postseason with a 2.08 ERA in two starts.
Gerrit Cole, SPHot10/9/2013 9:42:00 AM
Description: Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole was the team's best pitcher in September and it's not surprising he got the call for the deciding game against St. Louis. The other option would have been A.J. Burnett, who gave up six hits and seven earned runs, in the series opener.
Insight: Cole put together a stunning September, going 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA and 1.063 WHIP then gave up just two hits and a single run in six innings against the Cardinals last Friday.
Russell Martin, C10/9/2013 9:32:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin is a career .409 hitter (9-for-22) against Cardinals NLDS Game 5 starter Adam Wainwright.
Insight: Martin didn't do much in the regular season, but his two-homer game sunk the Reds in the wild card game and he's batting .357 with six RBI this postseason.
Andrew McCutchen, CFHot10/9/2013 9:28:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is a .429 hitter (12-for-28) against St. Louis right-hander Adam Wainwright.
Insight: McCutchen has had a good postseason, batting .412 through four games against the Cardinals and one against the Reds (7-for-22).
Gerrit Cole, SPHot10/7/2013 9:10:00 PM
Description: The Pirates are going with Gerrit Cole in Game 5 against St. Louis. SOURCE: Michael Sanserino, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Insight: The rookie has been Pittsburgh's best pitcher lately so he'll get the nod over A.J. Burnett. Cole tossed six innings of two-hit ball last time out against the Cardinals in Game 2. He'll be pitching on normal rest.
Pedro Alvarez, 3BHot10/7/2013 6:26:00 PM
Description: El Toro strikes again. Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez continued his torrid October Monday with a home run against the Cardinals.
Insight: The solo blast ended Michael Wacha's no-hit bid in the eighth inning. Three of Alvarez's four hits this postseason have come on home runs. Game 5 will be held Wednesday in St. Louis.
Russell Martin, C10/6/2013 11:08:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin has only faced Cardinals starter Joe Kelly four times, but has rapped out three hits, including a home run.
Insight: Martin is hitting .400 in three playoff games this season with a pair of home runs. Given this favorable matchup we think he's a must start Sunday.
Gerrit Cole, SPHot10/5/2013 9:03:00 AM
Description: Gerrit Cole's postseason debut was a success. The Pirates rookie pitched six innings of two-hit ball Friday in a win over top-seeded St. Louis.
Insight: Cole probably could have gone deeper into the game (he only threw 86 pitches) but Pittsburgh had a six-run cushion so he didn't have to. Cole has been spectacular since the All-Star break with seven victories and a 2.76 ERA in 13 starts.
Andrew McCutchen, CF10/4/2013 9:59:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is just a .154 hitter (4-for-26) with 10 strikeouts against St. Louis right-hander Lance Lynn.
Insight: McCutchen had a couple of singles against Adam Wainwright in the series opener, but this matchup doesn't bode well.
Starling Marte, LF10/4/2013 9:55:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte is a career .462 hitter (.6-for-13) against Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn.
Insight: Like most of his fellow Pirates hitters, Marte didn't do much in the series opener, going 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts. This is a much more favorable matchup.
Russell Martin, C10/3/2013 10:33:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin was the hero Tuesday night against Cincinnati (3-for-4, two homers). With Adam Wainwright throwing for the Cardinals in Game 1 of the Division Series, Martin has a chance to have another successful outing on Thursday.
Insight: Martin is hitting over .400 in his career against Wainwright. Prior to Tuesday night's offensive explosion, Martin had been just a .200 hitter in 115 postseason at bats. We'll see if either of these trends continue Thursday at Busch Stadium.
Andrew McCutchen, CF10/3/2013 10:19:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen was brilliant Tuesday in his playoff debut (2-for-3, with two walks) and if history repeats itself, he should be in for another big day Thursday against St. Louis.
Insight: McCutchen has a .429 lifetime average versus Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright. He's also a .343 hitter in 108 career at bats at Busch Stadium. With numbers like that, the Cardinals would be wise to pitch around McCutchen this series.
Russell Martin, CCold10/1/2013 11:10:00 AM
Description: Pirates veteran catcher Russell Martin will likely be behind the plate for this one-game playoff, but he's just 1-for-12 against Cincinnati right-hander Johnny Cueto.
Insight: Martin has provided the team with leadership, but a .226 average isn't going to help many fantasy owners. He did hit 15 homers and knock in 55 runs, but most of his production came earlier in the season. Martin batted just .207 with a .651 OPS after the break.
Marlon Byrd, CFHot10/1/2013 11:03:00 AM
Description: Marlon Byrd is batting a .583 hitter (7-for-12) against Reds starter Johnny Cueto with a home run and a 1.560 OPS.
Insight: Byrd is batting .375 against Reds pitching this season while playing for both the Mets and Pirates. He put together the best season of his career in 2013, batting .291 with 24 HR and 88 RBI.
Jeff Locke, SP9/29/2013 1:32:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh lefty Jeff Locke won't pitch again in 2013. SOURCE: Michael Sanserino, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Insight: He was unlikely to make the team's postseason roster anyway. After putting together a stellar first half (8-2, 2.15 ERA in 109 innings), Locke hasn't looked right since the All-Star break (2-5, 6.12 in 12 appearances).
Justin Morneau, 1B9/29/2013 11:49:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh first baseman Justin Morneau is sitting out Sunday's regular season finale against the Reds.
Insight: He's been splitting time at first base with Gaby Sanchez and Garrett Jones. At this stage of his career, Morneau (.259, 17 HR, 77 RBI) is only a borderline fantasy player.
Andrew McCutchen, CF9/29/2013 10:46:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen isn't starting Sunday's game against the Reds. SOURCE: Michael Sanserino, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Insight: They're saving him for Tuesday's Wild Card game, which is also against Cincinnati. The likely NL MVP will close out the 2013 regular season with 21 HR, 84 RBI, 27 SB and a .317 batting average.
Neil Walker, 2B9/28/2013 6:39:00 PM
Description: Neil Walker assured the Pirates of home field advantage for the NL Wild Card game by blasting two homers Saturday in a win over the Reds.
Insight: Walker's power surge has included six round-trippers in his last nine contests. His batting average has only improved marginally over that span, rising from .245 to where it sits now at .251.
Andrew McCutchen, CF9/28/2013 10:47:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen went 0-for-3 against Bronson Arroyo last week and is 1-for-26 (.038) lifetime against the right-hander.
Insight: Arroyo starts Saturday, which means McCutchen will likely struggle. We still don't advise benching a guy who is hitting .317 with 20 homers, 83 RBI, 96 runs and 27 steals this season.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B9/28/2013 10:44:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez has hit .313 with two homers over his last eight games and has a .500 average against Reds starter Bronson Arroyo.
Insight: After going 10-for-71 (.141) with one home run and 18 K from Aug. 28 to Sept. 18, Alvarez has picked up the pace recently and has a favorable matchup Saturday against Arroyo. He has gone 6-for-12 with three doubles and a homer against the Reds starter and is one RBI shy of 100.
Neil Walker, 2B9/28/2013 10:44:00 AM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker is 7-for-16 (.438) with two doubles and two homers in his career against Reds starter Bronson Arroyo.
Insight: Walker has hit four homers over his last eight games to give him 14 this year, but he still has had a disappointing season after flashing some positive signs in 2012. However, he should be started with Arroyo on the mound Saturday.
A.J. Burnett, SP9/27/2013 10:26:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter A.J. Burnett tossed eight innings and allowed five hits and a run with six strikeouts Friday versus the Reds.
Insight: The 36-year-old may have made his final start in the big leagues, as he is considering retirement and won't start again unless Pittsburgh wins the Wild Card play-in game. He went 10-11 with a 3.30 ERA, 209 strikeouts and a 1.21 WHIP this season.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B9/27/2013 10:23:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez went 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBI Friday at Cincinnati.
Insight: After going 10-for-71 (.141) with one home run and 18 K from Aug. 28 to Sept. 18, Alvarez has .313 with two homers over his last eight games. The third baseman is hitting .231 with 35 homers, 99 RBI and a .761 OPS this season.
Jeff Locke, SPCold9/24/2013 6:08:00 PM
Description: Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke is not expected to start again this season, according to MLB.com.
Insight: Much like former Pirates pitcher James McDonald in 2012, Locke had a fantastic first half and a disastrous second half this season. He went 8-2 with a 2.15 ERA before the All-Star break and is 2-5 with a 6.12 ERA in the second half.
Russell Martin, C9/22/2013 8:03:00 PM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin left Sunday's game due to left knee soreness.
Insight: Martin dealt with soreness in that knee earlier this season. He has provided the team with a .230 average, 15 homers and 55 RBI but most of his value comes from his work behind the plate, something fantasy owners cannot benefit from.
Andrew McCutchen, CF9/22/2013 10:25:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen has been baffled by Cincinnati starter Bronson Arroyo.
Insight: McCutchen is 1-for-23 (.043) against Arroyo, though the one hit was a home run. He's also hitless in his last three games. We don't recommend sitting McCutchen Sunday because he's a fantasy star, but if he does have a big day it will have to come against Cincinnati's bullpen.
Neil Walker, 2B9/22/2013 10:23:00 AM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker has produced strong numbers against Reds starter Bronson Arroyo.
Insight: Walker had four hits Thursday and has homered in two of his last three games, but he's still hitting just .143 (7-for-49) over his last 14 games. He does have a .357 average with a double and a homer in 14 at-bats against Arroyo, however.
Marlon Byrd, CF9/22/2013 10:21:00 AM
Description: Marlon Byrd is batting .302 in 24 games since joining the Pirates, but he has just two homers in that timeframe.
Insight: Byrd set a new career high of 21 homers in 117 games with the Mets, but his power has regressed with Pittsburgh. If you still own him, he has a good matchup Sunday against Reds starter Bronson Arroyo. Byrd is 8-for-21 (.381) with two doubles and a homer against Arroyo.
Pedro Alvarez, 3BCold9/22/2013 10:18:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez has a .500 lifetime average against Reds starter Bronson Arroyo.
Insight: He has five hits, including three doubles and a homer, in 10 at-bats against Arroyo. After making the NL All-Star team, Alvarez has had a miserable second half, hitting .202 with 10 homers and a .669 OPS. However, he's tied with Paul Goldschmidt for the league lead with 34 homers and needs six more RBI for his first 100-RBI season.
A.J. Burnett, SP9/21/2013 10:16:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter A.J. Burnett struck out 12 batters and allowed two runs on four hits over seven innings Saturday to help Pittsburgh defeat the Reds.
Insight: In what could be his final season, the 36-year-old reached 200 strikeouts for the first time since 2008 and the third time in his career. He's 9-11 despite posting a 3.39 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP.
Jason Grilli, RP9/21/2013 6:44:00 PM
Description: Pirates closer Jason Grilli will return to the closer role Saturday, according to Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com.
Insight: Grilli missed six weeks with a strained forearm and has allowed four runs on eight hits in five innings since returning. After Mark Melancon blew his second straight save chance Friday, the Pirates will go back to Grilli, who has 30 saves and a 2.85 ERA this year.
A.J. Burnett, SP9/21/2013 12:07:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh righthander A.J. Burnett said he's 50/50 about returning to play another season. SOURCE: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Insight: The 36-year-old may retire after the season. He's had another good year for the Pirates, though it hasn't shown up in the win/loss column (8-11, 3.43 ERA in 28 starts).
Mark Melancon, RPCold9/21/2013 9:19:00 AM
Description: Mark Melancon's worst stretch of the season couldn't have come at a worse time.
Insight: Pittsburgh's All-Star closer has blown two saves in a row with a 10.80 ERA in those two outings. Melancon's overall numbers are still excellent but the Pirates need more from him down the stretch. If Melancon (2-2, 1.30 ERA, 0.96 WHIP) continues to scuffle, the Pirates could go back to their original closer, fellow All-Star Jason Grilli.
Francisco Liriano, SP9/20/2013 10:57:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Francisco Liriano gave up just three hits and two runs over eight innings Friday against the Reds, but Mark Melancon blew the save in the ninth to cost Liriano his 17th win.
Insight: Liriano has proved to be a fantastic pickup for the Pirates after several erratic seasons for the Twins over the last few years. He's 16-7 with a 2.88 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP and has struck out 155 batters in 156 innings.
Starling Marte, LF9/20/2013 3:08:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte was not in Thursday's lineup, but should be back in time for Friday's series opener with Cincinnati. Latest update - Marte is not in the starting lineup.
Insight: His wife went into labor Thursday morning. The outfielder has gone 1-for-7 with three strikeouts in two games since returning from a hand injury that kept him out of the lineup for nearly a month.
Starling Marte, LF9/20/2013 10:31:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte was not in Thursday's lineup, but should be back in time for Friday's series opener with Cincinnati.
Insight: His wife went into labor Thursday morning. The outfielder has gone 1-for-7 with three strikeouts in two games since returning from a hand injury that kept him out of the lineup for nearly a month.
Neil Walker, 2B9/19/2013 6:51:00 PM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker had a big day Thursday against the Padres.
Insight: Walker went 4-for-5 with three RBI. He had been just two for his last 36 before today's game.
Gerrit Cole, SPHot9/19/2013 6:15:00 PM
Description: Pirates rookie Gerrit Cole set a new career-high in strikeouts Thursday versus San Diego.
Insight: He fanned 12 Padres in six innings of work. Cole (9-7, 3.23 ERA) projects as a rock solid No. 3 starter heading into the playoffs.
Francisco Liriano, SP9/19/2013 6:05:00 PM
Description: Lefthander Francisco Liriano is likely to start Pittsburgh's playoff opener. SOURCE: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Insight: It's looking like that start will be the do-or-die Wild Card game rather than Game 1 of the Division Series. In order to win the division, Pittsburgh needs to gain two games on St. Louis in the next week and a half.
Starling Marte, LF9/19/2013 10:58:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte is not in Thursday's lineup. His wife went into labor this morning. SOURCE: Michael Sanserino, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Insight: If Pittsburgh was playing at 7 p.m. instead of 12:35 p.m. Marte probably would have played Thursday. However, the early start prevents him from being in the lineup. The outfielder has gone 1-for-7 with three strikeouts in two games since returning from a hand injury that kept him out of the lineup for nearly a month.
Charlie Morton, SP9/18/2013 9:57:00 PM
Description: Pirates righthander Charlie Morton had everything working Wednesday against San Diego (8 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 9 K's, 3 BB).
Insight: Unfortunately, closer Mark Melancon didn't hold up his end of the bargain in the ninth inning and the Pirates wound up losing by a count of 3-2. Still, this was easily the best game Morton (7-4, 3.35 ERA) has pitched all season. Morton seems to be rounding into form just in time for the playoffs.
Starling Marte, LF9/17/2013 5:20:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte (hand) is in the starting lineup Tuesday.
Insight: Marte hasn't started since Aug. 18 due to a contusion and sprained ligament in his right hand. He has been serving as a defensive replacement and pinch-runner but finally is ready to hit.
Starling Marte, LF9/15/2013 11:27:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte has been playing the field but has yet to see an at bat since his return from the DL early last week. That should change this week when the Padres come to town. SOURCE: Rob Biertempfel, Pittsburgh Tribune
Insight: Manager Clint Hurdle acknowledged that Marte's hand probably won't be 100 percent the rest of the season but the Pirates need him if they want to make a deep postseason run. Getting a few at bats in before the playoffs is probably a good idea.
Andrew McCutchen, CFHot9/15/2013 10:34:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is just 1-for-16 (.063) against Cubs starter Travis Wood.
Insight: In fact, Wood (9-11, 3.05 ERA) has a 3.40 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 42 1/3 career innings against the Pirates. However, fantasy owners should never think about benching McCutchen, who is hitting .365 with nine home runs (24 XBH) and a 1.049 OPS since the All-Star break and .419 with a 1.207 OPS in August.
Gerrit Cole, SPHot9/14/2013 10:25:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh starter Gerrit Cole was firing on all cylinders Saturday versus the Cubs.
Insight: After an up and down first few months in the big leagues, Cole has really found his groove in September. In three September starts he's 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA. Cole usually isn't a big strikeout guy but he's averaged eight whiffs a game in his last two contests.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP9/14/2013 8:41:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez (elbow) won't pitch again this season. SOURCE: Rob Biertempfel, Pittsburgh Tribune
Insight: He'll finish the 2013 campaign with six wins and a 3.59 ERA in 12 starts. The Pirates have been without him since early June so this injury won't have much bearing on the pennant race.
Jeff Locke, SP9/12/2013 10:15:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh lefthander Jeff Locke (7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 K's, 1 BB) earned his tenth win of the year Thursday against the Cubs.
Insight: Thursday was Locke's first victory in almost two months (July 21st against Cincinnati). He'll try and make it two straight when he pitches Tuesday against the Padres.
Starling Marte, LF9/12/2013 4:37:00 PM
Description: Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (bruised right ring finger) took full swings in a simulated game Thursday, which manager Clint Hurdle said is the "last piece" before Marte returns. SOURCE: Travis Sawchik, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Insight: The Pirates activated Marte last week even though he has been unable to swing with two hands due to a finger contusion. He isn't in the lineup Thursday but could be back Friday.
Justin Morneau, 1B9/11/2013 10:12:00 PM
Description: Pirates first baseman Justin Morneau was 6-for-27 in his first nine games with the team but he went 4-for-5 Wednesday against the Rangers.
Insight: Morneau snapped out of a 0-for-14 slump with the four-hit game but is still hitting just .203 over his last 59 at-bats.
Neil Walker, 2BCold9/11/2013 10:05:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker is hitless in nine at-bats versus Texas starter Matt Garza.
Insight: Walker's recent hot streak is over as he's batted just .063 over the past five games (1-for-160. He doesn't figure to break out of his slump on Wednesday.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B9/11/2013 10:02:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is 5-for-12 (.417) with a 1.083 OPS versus Texas starter Matt Garza.
Insight: The Pirates third baseman, with a career .235 batting average, has been a great option for most of the season (.232, 32 HR, 88 RBI) and Wednesday should help those totals.
Starling Marte, LF9/11/2013 9:58:00 AM
Description: Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (bruised right ring finger) took batting practice Tuesday, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Insight: The Pirates activated Marte last week even though he has been unable to swing, but he was used as a pinch-runner in Tuesday's game.
Starling Marte, LF9/10/2013 5:40:00 PM
Description: Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (bruised right ring finger) took batting practice Tuesday, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Insight: The Pirates activated Marte last week even though he has been unable to swing two-handed due to a hand injury. Taking batting practice is a good first step toward returning to the lineup at some point this month.
Charlie Morton, SP9/10/2013 5:34:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton (foot) expects to make his next start Friday against the Cubs, according to Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: Morton left Sunday's start against the Cardinals in the second inning and was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in his left foot.
Starling Marte, LF9/10/2013 10:52:00 AM
Description: Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (bruised right ring finger) is questionable for Tuesday's game against Texas
Insight: Much like Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez and Los Angeles' Peter Bourjos, Marte is active even though he cannot hit due to a hand injury. The September roster expansion allows those teams to keep them active as pinch-runners and defensive replacements. Obviously you have to avoid putting him in your lineup.
Gerrit Cole, SP9/9/2013 10:39:00 PM
Description: Pirates rookie Gerrit Cole won a classic pitcher's duel against Rangers starter Yu Darvish Monday in Texas.
Insight: Cole's seventh win of the season may have been his most impressive one yet. He finished the night with nine strikeouts in seven shutout innings. Cole will take the mound again Saturday versus Chicago.
Charlie Morton, SP9/8/2013 5:58:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton left Sunday's game with a left foot injury.
Insight: He'll undergo treatment and further evaluation in the next few days, according to MLB.com. The good news for Morton is that he doesn't have an arm injury; the right-hander had Tommy John surgery last year.
Charlie Morton, SP9/8/2013 3:15:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton was removed with an undisclosed injury Sunday against St. Louis.
Insight: He only made it through an inning and two thirds. The Cardinals hammered him for five runs on six hits over that span. Stolmy Pimentel has entered the game in Morton's place.
Starling Marte, LF9/8/2013 11:24:00 AM
Description: Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (finger) said his hand felt "brutal" swinging two-handed. SOURCE: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Insight: Much like Colorado's Carlos Gonzalez and Los Angeles' Peter Bourjos, Marte is active even though he cannot hit due to a hand injury. The September roster expansion allows those teams to keep them active as pinch-runners and defensive replacements.
Jeff Locke, SPCold9/7/2013 10:21:00 PM
Description: In his return to the Pirates rotation, Jeff Locke allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits with four walks over five innings.
Insight: Locke used smoke and mirrors to go 9-2 with a 2.11 ERA over his first 115 innings this year, but he has put 83 men on base and allowed 28 earned runs over his last 38 1/3 innings (6.57 ERA, 2.17 WHIP). Saturday was his first outing since being demoted to the minors in late August.
Starling Marte, LF9/7/2013 6:38:00 PM
Description: Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (finger) has been activated from the 15-day disabled list even though he is unable to hit.
Insight: Marte, who is out with a sprained right ring finger and cannot yet grip a bat, will serve as a defensive replacement and a pinch runner.
James McDonald, SP9/7/2013 3:35:00 PM
Description: Pirates right-hander James McDonald was an All-Star just a season ago and a valuable member of many fantasy rotations, but he was designated for assignment on Saturday.
Insight: The Pirates have dealt with injures and poor pitching (2-2, 5.76 ERA, 1.65 WHIP) and apparently finally gave up.
Andrew McCutchen, CF9/7/2013 11:17:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen is a career .400 hitter versus Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright with a 1.149 OPS.
Insight: McCutchen isn't going to reach last year's 31 home run mark, but he's having another excellent all-around season batting .320 with 19 HR, 76 RBI, 87 runs, 27 steals and playing great defense.
Starling Marte, LF9/4/2013 6:31:00 PM
Description: Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (finger) still cannot let loose throwing the ball or take swings two-handed, according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: Marte, who is out with a sprained right ring finger, has no timetable for a return.
Jason Grilli, RP9/3/2013 6:00:00 PM
Description: Pirates closer Jason Grilli (forearm) will return to Pittsburgh's bullpen Tuesday night.
Insight: Grilli has been out for six weeks with a strained right forearm. He had 30 saves and a 2.34 ERA before his injury and will likely reclaim the closer job from Mark Melancon. However, that's not guaranteed so Melancon owners should hold onto him.
Jeff Locke, SP9/3/2013 5:52:00 PM
Description: According to Tom Singer of MLB.com, Jeff Locke will rejoin the Pirates rotation Saturday against the Cardinals.
Insight: Locke was demoted to the minors at the end of August to rest after struggling for the last month. The left-hander was 9-2 with a 2.11 ERA after his start on July 21 but he has gone 0-2 with a 7.02 ERA and a 2.28 WHIP over his last seven starts. He'll need to pitch well to earn a spot in the postseason rotation.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B9/3/2013 1:53:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is just 1-for-20 (.050) with nine strikeouts against Milwaukee right-hander Yovani Gallardo.
Insight: The Pirates third baseman has been a great option for most of the season (.232, 32 HR, 86 RBI), but is not a good choice for Tuesday.
Neil Walker, 2BHot9/2/2013 7:57:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker is 11-for-26 with a double, a triple, two homers and seven RBI over his last six games.
Insight: He went 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBI Monday against the Brewers. Walker is hitting .316 with four home runs and 16 RBI over his last 34 games.
Charlie Morton, SPHot9/2/2013 7:53:00 PM
Description: Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton had another strong outing Monday against the Brewers, tossing seven innings and allowing two runs (one earned) with six K.
Insight: Morton is 4-0 with a 1.74 ERA in 41 1/3 innings over his last six starts and is 7-3 with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP in 90 innings this season.
Gerrit Cole, SP9/1/2013 3:08:00 PM
Description: According to Tom Singer of MLB.com, Pirates GM Neal Huntington confirmed that Gerrit Cole will start Tuesday against the Brewers.
Insight: Cole is 6-7 with a 3.80 ERA since making his big league debut. He has thrown 153 1/3 innings between Triple-A and the majors this year, up from 132 last season, so the team may choose to shut him down at some point.
Andrew McCutchen, CFHot9/1/2013 10:11:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen went 38-for-99 (.384) with five doubles, two triples, two homers, 15 RBI and a 19/20 K/BB in August.
Insight: McCutchen's HR/PA is down from 4.6 percent to 3.0 percent since last season, but McCutchen has trimmed his strikeout rate from 19.6 percent to 15.3 percent, is batting .317 and has 81 runs, 74 RBI and 27 steals. He's everything a fantasy owners could want.
Neil Walker, 2B8/31/2013 10:16:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker has gone 8-for-17 with a double, a triple, a homer and four RBI over his last four games.
Insight: Walker hasn't been able to put together an extended hot streak. He started off the month hitting .329 with an .859 OPS over the first 18 games before falling in a 1-for-18 slump. That's been the story of this season for Walker, who is hitting .262 with a .762 OPS after going 3-for-4 with a triple and one RBI Saturday.
Russell Martin, C8/31/2013 10:13:00 PM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin went 1-for-3 with a homer, three RBI, a walk and two runs Saturday against the Cardinals.
Insight: Martin has homered in two straight games and 13 times this season. He's hitting .243 with 51 RBI and a .748 OPS this year.
A.J. Burnett, SP8/31/2013 10:08:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter A.J. Burnett fired seven innings and allowed one run on four hits with six strikeouts Saturday against the Cardinals to pick up his seventh win.
Insight: Burnett had an up-and-down month, going 3-2 with a 3.79 ERA in six starts. He has a 3.09 ERA this season, a career best, but he has gone just 7-9.
Justin Morneau, 1B8/31/2013 2:38:00 PM
Description: Twins first baseman Justin Morneau has been traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Insight: The Pirates were in need of first base help and traded for the best possible option on the market. After hitting seven homers prior to the All-Star break, Morneau has 10 in his last 41 games.
Andrew McCutchen, CF8/31/2013 10:29:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen is just a .174 hitter with eight strikeouts against Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn.
Insight: McCutchen (.320, 17 HR, 74 RBI, 81 runs, 27 SB) has done everything a fantasy owner could have asked for, including batting .400 over the past four weeks to help in the stretch drive. He's a fantasy stud, he just isn't likely to have a big day against Lynn.
Garrett Jones, 1BCold8/30/2013 10:22:00 PM
Description: Pirates first baseman Garrett Jones went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI Friday against St. Louis.
Insight: Jones had just one multi-hit game this month prior to Friday. He's 10-for-63 (.159) in August.
Francisco Liriano, SP8/30/2013 10:16:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Francisco Liriano easily dispatched the Cardinals Friday night to help Pittsburgh tie for first place in the NL Central.
Insight: Over eight two-hit innings, Liriano struck out six, walked two and didn't give up a run to win his 15th game of the season, tied for first in the NL and second in the majors. Liriano still has not had two consecutive subpar starts this season.
Jason Grilli, RP8/30/2013 4:58:00 PM
Description: Pirates closer Jason Grilli (flexor strain in his right forearm) will start a minor league rehab assignment Saturday with Double-A Altoona, according to Tom Singer of MLB.com.
Insight: Grilli will throw one inning Saturday and another one Monday before making another appearance with Triple-A Indianapolis. The right-hander should be back in the bullpen by the second week of September.
Jeff Locke, SP8/29/2013 9:28:00 PM
Description: Jeff Locke's stay in the minor leagues won't be a long one. He's expected to rejoin the Pirates rotation next Tuesday against Milwaukee. SOURCE: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Insight: The Bucs have opted to skip Locke's turn in the rotation on Sunday to give him some extra rest. He's really struggled in the second half but it appears the Pirates still have faith in him. Fantasy owners, however, may not be as forgiving.
Starling Marte, LF8/29/2013 4:20:00 PM
Description: Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (finger) has an outside shot at playing rehab games next weekend, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Insight: Marte, who is out with a sprained right ring finger, took one-handed swings Thursday and could swing with two hands over the weekend. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Tuesday that Marte wouldn't swing a bat for another two weeks.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B8/29/2013 11:10:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is only batting .208 with a .696 OPS over his last 38 games and he has been shut down by Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo in their previous meetings.
Insight: Gallardo has limited Alvarez to one hit over 17 at-bats while striking him out eight times. The Pirates third baseman is not a good option Thursday.
Charlie Morton, SPHot8/29/2013 9:49:00 AM
Description: Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton is 3-0 with a 1.83 ERA over his last five starts.
Insight: Morton has allowed 86 hits in 83 innings this season, but he has a solid 2.28 BB/9 and a 0.54 HR/9. His ERA dropped to 3.14 after he threw 6 2/3 innings and allowed just one unearned run Wednesday against Milwaukee.
Marlon Byrd, CFHot8/29/2013 9:47:00 AM
Description: Marlon Byrd homered to dead center fielder in his first game with the Pirates.
Insight: Byrd hit a career-high 21 homers in 117 games with the Mets this season, and he added to that total Wednesday. He's hitting .284 with 74 RBI and an .852 OPS.
Jeff Locke, SPCold8/28/2013 8:33:00 PM
Description: The Pirates are sending struggling lefthander Jeff Locke down to Double-A Altoona.
Insight: Locke has officially reached rock bottom. In less than two months, he's gone from an All-Star to a full-fledged fantasy disaster. Since the break, Locke is 1-2 with an ERA over six. Opponents are hitting .340 against him over that span. At this point, it's doubtful Locke (9-4, 3.22 ERA in 26 starts) would be asked to start a game in the postseason.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B8/27/2013 10:42:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez went 4-for-4 with a solo home run Tuesday against the Brewers.
Insight: Even with the big game, Alvarez is hitting .219 with 52 K in 36 games since the All-Star break and .233 with 34 K in 22 games this month. However, he is 10-for-27 (.370) with two homers and seven total extra-base hits over his last seven games.
Jeff Locke, SPCold8/27/2013 10:37:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Jeff Locke's season continued to unravel Tuesday against the Brewers.
Insight: Locke allowed five earned runs on eight hits over 4 2/3 innings. After going 9-2 with a 2.11 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP over his first 115 innings, Locke is 0-2 with a 7.02 ERA and a 2.28 WHIP over 33 1/3 his last seven starts.
Starling Marte, LF8/27/2013 5:50:00 PM
Description: Pirates left fielder Starling Marte (finger) won't swing a bat for another two weeks, according to Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: Marte is eligible to return Sept. 3, but he won't come close to that date. It's likely he won't be back until the latter half of September. The 24-year-old has been a tremendous fantasy player this season, hitting .282 with 11 homers, 79 runs, 35 steals and a .786 OPS in 118 games.
Marlon Byrd, CFHot8/27/2013 5:36:00 PM
Description: Marlon Byrd is now a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Insight: The Mets traded him along with John Buck to the Pirates Tuesday for a minor leaguer and a player to be named later. The 35-year-old Byrd is having a career year, hitting .285 with a career-high 21 homers and 71 RBI. He'll take over as Pittsburgh's starting right fielder.
Jose Tabata, RF8/27/2013 10:35:00 AM
Description: Pirates right fielder Jose Tabata is 12-for-23 (.522) with four extra base hits and a 1.386 OPS versus Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse.
Insight: Tabata has a pair of three-hit games in his last four starts. He's batting .269 with 4 HR, 20 RBI and a .744 OPS in 80 games. He's worth a one-day flier.
Neil Walker, 2BHot8/25/2013 11:30:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker has picked up seven hits (four 2B) in just 13 at-bats against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong.
Insight: With Vogelsong on the mound Sunday, make sure Walker is in your fantasy lineup. The Pirates second baseman has a significantly lower strikeout rate and similar and batted ball distribution to 2012, including a 24.6 percent line-drive rate, but his average is down 25 points due in large part to a 35-point drop in BABIP. Part of that is Walker's fault as he has exhibited a dropoff in power, hitting .178 with a 13.6 percent extra-base hit rate on flyballs this year compared to .246 with a 20.8 percent extra-base hit rate on flies in 2012.
Starling Marte, LF8/24/2013 7:46:00 PM
Description: A sprained finger will send Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte to the 15-day DL.
Insight: The roster move is retroactive to August 19th. Marte has had a brilliant season for the Bucs (.282, 11 HR, 33 RBI, 35 SB) and will be very difficult to replace at the top of the order. Pittsburgh is hoping Marte will be able to return as soon as he's eligible to on September 3rd.
Russell Martin, CCold8/24/2013 12:08:00 PM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin is a career .100 hitter (2-for-20) versus Giants hurler Tim Lincecum.
Insight: He's batting .246 with 11 homers and 47 RBI, but hasn't produced much since a strong April. Martin continues to do an excellent job behind the plate for the Pirates so will likely play through these bad matchups to help the pitching staff. Fantasy owners don't need to suffer, however, choose another catcher.
Starling Marte, LF8/23/2013 11:47:00 AM
Description: Pirates left fielder Starling Marte's sore right ring finger kept him out Thursday, but he was available to pinch hit so he should be very close to returning.
Insight: Marte has become a solid fantasy contributor, batting .282 as the team's leadoff hitter with 11 HR, 33 RBI, 79 runs and 35 stolen bases. We'd like to see him improve his steal percentage as he's been caught 13 times.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP8/22/2013 9:12:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh lefthander Wandy Rodriguez suffered another setback in his return from a forearm injury Thursday while pitching in a simulated game. SOURCE: Tom Singer, MLB.com
Insight: Dr. James Andrews will take a look at his arm sometime next week. Tommy John surgery could be in Rodriguez's future. Don't expect to see him back on a baseball field in 2013.
Starling Marte, LF8/21/2013 4:18:00 PM
Description: Pirates left fielder Starling Marte's sore right ring finger kept him out Tuesday and he will not be in Wednesday starting lineup either.
Insight: Marte was initially in Tuesday's lineup but was scratched, so we thought he was close, but apparently not close enough.
Neil Walker, 2BHot8/21/2013 11:00:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker is 6-for-12 with two homers and seven RBI in 12 at-bats against Padres right-hander Ian Kennedy.
Insight: Walker has been a solid producer in August, batting .329 in 18 games and should be a nice option on Wednesday.
Starling Marte, LF8/21/2013 9:51:00 AM
Description: Pirates left fielder Starling Marte's sore right ring finger kept him out Tuesday and he is questionable for Wednesday's game against San Diego.
Insight: Marte was initially in Tuesday's lineup but was scratched, according to Tom Singer of MLB.com, so he must be close to returning.
Starling Marte, LF8/20/2013 8:41:00 PM
Description: Pirates left fielder Starling Marte's sore right ring finger kept him out again Tuesday.
Insight: Marte was initially in the lineup but was scratched, according to Tom Singer of MLB.com.
Starling Marte, LF8/19/2013 10:33:00 PM
Description: Pirates left fielder Starling Marte sat out Monday's game against the Padres because of a bruised hand.
Insight: It's not considered a serious injury. Jose Tabata (.268, 4 HR, 17 RBI) will make the start in Marte's place.
Gerrit Cole, SP8/18/2013 12:25:00 PM
Description: Despite a strong outing on Friday, Pittsburgh righthander Gerrit Cole isn't assured a place in the team's starting rotation for September and October. SOURCE: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Insight: If the Pirates make the postseason, they'd probably go with a rotation of A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano, Jeff Locke and Wandy Rodriguez, which leaves Cole as the odd man out. To prepare him for his role as a reliever, Cole may shift to the bullpen before the end of the season. Nothing is official yet and for now Cole (6-5, 3.88 ERA) is still scheduled to start Wednesday against the Padres.
Garrett Jones, 1B8/18/2013 11:36:00 AM
Description: First baseman Garrett Jones will be on the sidelines Sunday when the Pirates take on Arizona.
Insight: Jones is hitless in the series (0-for-7). Gaby Sanchez, who went 1-for-1 with a double on Saturday, will get the nod at first base.
Neil Walker, 2B8/18/2013 11:32:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh second baseman Neil Walker has been given the day off Sunday versus Arizona.
Insight: It's Walker's first off-day since July 30th. Jordy Mercer (.271, 5 HR, 19 RBI) will fill in at second base.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B8/15/2013 9:42:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez hit his 29th home run of the season Wednesday night against the Cardinals.
Insight: Alvarez is in a slump -- he's hitting .192 with five home runs and a .634 OPS since the All-Star break and has zero multi-hit efforts over his last 20 games -- but he's been known to go into much worse downswings where he offers virtually nothing for 2-3 weeks; fantasy owners can't complain too much.
Francisco Liriano, SP8/14/2013 10:50:00 PM
Description: Pirates lefthander Francisco Liriano recorded his second complete game of the season Wednesday in a 5-1 win over St. Louis.
Insight: He's 2-0 against the Cardinals this season with a 1.13 ERA. Liriano's last start was a disaster (2 1/3 IP, 12 H, 10 ER versus Colorado) so it's good to see him get back on track.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP8/14/2013 6:53:00 PM
Description: Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (forearm) threw a 35-pitch bullpen Tuesday with only fastballs and changeups. He'll mix in his curveball Friday. SOURCE: Michael Sanserino, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Insight: Rodriguez is making progress in his rehab from forearm tightness but is still not expected to return until after Sept. 1. He hasn't pitched since June 5.
Jason Grilli, RP8/14/2013 3:48:00 PM
Description: Pirates closer Jason Grilli (flexor strain in his right forearm), played catch and felt good, according to Tom Singer of MLB.com.
Insight: The right-hander was expected to rest for 4-8 weeks, but we're three weeks since he last pitched (July 22). He's still not expected to return until September.
Jose Tabata, RF8/14/2013 11:15:00 AM
Description: Pirates right fielder Jose Tabata is questionable for Wednesday's game against St. Louis with flu-like symptoms.
Insight: The illness gave the Pirates a chance to use just called up youngster Andre Lambo, who has hit 31 homers between Double-A and Triple-A this season. the 25-year-old Lambo went hitless in his big league debut on Tuesday.
Jose Tabata, RF8/13/2013 11:30:00 AM
Description: Pirates right fielder Jose Tabata is one of four likely starters who own a batting average of at least .385 against Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright.
Insight: Tabata is 6-for-13 (.462) against Wainwright and should get the start along with Russell Martin (.474), Neil Walker (.385) and Andrew McCutchen (.391).
Andrew Lambo, LF8/12/2013 4:13:00 PM
Description: The Pittsburgh Pirates will call up IF/OF Andrew Lambo for Tuesday's three-game opener against St. Louis.
Insight: Lambo has long ball power having blasted a total of 31 homers between Altoona and Indianapolis. He could be a useful option for those looking to add power to their fantasy lineup.
Gerrit Cole, SP8/11/2013 2:26:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Gerrit Cole won't make his next start until Friday, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Insight: The team has a day off Monday, so they can push Cole back from Wednesday to Friday to get him some extra rest. The rookie has struggled lately, allowing seven earned runs in 10 1/3 innings over his last two starts. He's 5-5 with a 3.95 ERA and a 47/15 K/BB in his first 11 big league starts.
Starling Marte, LF8/11/2013 2:22:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte (hand) is not in the lineup Sunday.
Insight: Marte was hit by a pitch in his left hand in the seventh inning Saturday. He's day-to-day with a contusion.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP8/11/2013 1:52:00 PM
Description: Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (elbow) said he had "no problems" after throwing a 25-pitch bullpen session Saturday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: It was his first session since his setback in late June. He's tentatively scheduled to throw another session Wednesday that will be finalized if he feels good Sunday. Rodriguez is still not expected to return until after Sept. 1.
Starling Marte, LF8/11/2013 10:34:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte left Saturday's game with a left hand contusion and is day-to-day, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Insight: Marte was hit by a pitch in his left hand in the seventh inning Saturday. Fortunately, he doesn't have a fracture. He's questionable for Sunday's game.
Francisco Liriano, SP8/9/2013 10:54:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano imploded Friday against the Rockies, allowing 12 hits and ten earned runs in just 2 1/3 innings.
Insight: Unless the Pirates can erase a 10-1 deficit, Liriano will pick up his fifth loss of the season. We're not sure what happened to Liriano tonight. Just six days ago, he dominated these same Rockies, allowing just two hits over seven scoreless innings. He'll go back to the drawing board next week against St. Louis.
Jose Tabata, RF8/9/2013 10:46:00 AM
Description: Pirates right fielder Jose Tabata is 4-for-10 with a pair of homers and a 1.455 OPS versus Colorado starter Jorge De La Rosa.
Insight: Tabata is only a part-time player these days, but this matchup, along with an injury to Andrew McCutchen, could persuad the team to get him back in the starting lineup and if that happens he should be in fantasy lineups.
Andrew McCutchen, CF8/9/2013 10:24:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen didn't start on Thursday and is questionable for Friday's game against Colorado.
Insight: He was scratched because of right shoulder discomfort, but did end up getting into the game as a pinch hitter. McCutchen (.313, 16 HR, 65 RBI, 71 runs, 24 SB) has only missed three games all season.
Neil Walker, 2B8/8/2013 9:12:00 PM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker went 3-for-3 with two RBI Thursday against Miami.
Insight: Walker is 17-for-43 (.395) with six doubles, a homer and five RBI over his last 12 games. The second baseman has a 25 percent line-drive rate this season, so it's about time he saw some better luck on balls in play.
Andrew McCutchen, CF8/8/2013 11:55:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen won't play Thursday against the Marlins.
Insight: He was scratched because of right shoulder discomfort. Starling Marte, usually the team's left fielder, will get the start in center in McCutchen's place. Alex Presley will take over for Marte in left. McCutchen (.312, 16 HR, 65 RBI, 24 SB) has only missed three games this season.
Andrew McCutchen, CFHot8/7/2013 10:29:00 PM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen has collected two hits and at least one RBI in five straight games.
Insight: McCutchen went yard for the 16th time this season Wednesday against Miami and was 2-for-3 with a walk and a steal in the game. McCutchen, who has trimmed his strikeout rate from 19.6 percent to 14.9 percent and raised his line-drive rate from 21.9 percent to 24.7 percent from 2012 to 2013, is now hitting .312 with 16 home runs, 65 RBI, 71 runs and 24 steals. He's easily a top-10 fantasy asset.
Charlie Morton, SP8/7/2013 10:25:00 PM
Description: Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton gave up two runs on six hits, didn't walk a batter and struck out five in seven innings Wednesday against Miami.
Insight: Morton has issued just four free passes over his last 31 2/3 innings after walking nine in his first 24. He's 4-3 with a 3.88 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP over 55 2/3 innings since returning from his Tommy John surgery rehab.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP8/7/2013 7:54:00 PM
Description: Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (elbow) threw off a mound Wednesday for the first time since leaving a start in early June with forearm discomfort.
Insight: Rodriguez is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Saturday. If he can get through that, we should have a more exact timetable for his return.
Jeff Locke, SPCold8/6/2013 10:22:00 PM
Description: Pirates lefty Jeff Locke has allowed 27 hits and walked 10 batters over his last 16 1/3 innings.
Insight: Locke, who has been unreal with runners on base all season, has limited the damage to nine earned runs in that span (4.96 ERA) despite recording a 2.27 WHIP. After posting a .223 BABIP and a 3.77 FIP (2.11 ERA) over his first 19 starts this year, Locke is finally experiencing some regression.
A.J. Burnett, SP8/4/2013 5:41:00 PM
Description: Pirates righthander A.J. Burnett shut down the Rockies Sunday for his fifth win of the season.
Insight: He's allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his last seven starts. Sunday's win was actually Burnett's first since June 8th. Burnett's next start will be Saturday against these same Rockies.
Russell Martin, C8/4/2013 9:32:00 AM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin is questionable for Sunday's game against Colorado with a sore left knee.
Insight: Martin sat out Saturday's game, but could return for the series finale. He's batting .252 with nine homers and 38 RBI, but hasan't produced much since a strong April. There should be better fantasy options out there than a gimpy Martin.
Francisco Liriano, SPHot8/3/2013 10:56:00 PM
Description: Pirates ace Francisco Liriano pitched seven innings of two-hit baseball as he continues to show that old magic. He's now 12-4 this season.
Insight: Liriano has gone from a posting an ERA above 5.00 in three of the previous four seasons with Minnesota to a Cy Young contender with the Pirates. He's one of the major reasons why Pittsburgh leads the majors in ERA.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B8/3/2013 7:09:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is not in Saturday's starting lineup. Josh Harrison will man the hot corner.
Insight: Alvarez is batting .240, but with tremendous power - 27 homers and 71 RBI. He still strikes out too much (127 times in 367 at-bats), but it's hard to keep him out of the lineup.
Garrett Jones, 1B8/2/2013 10:00:00 AM
Description: Pirates 1B/OF Garrett Jones is 5-for-9 against Colorado right-hander Jhoulys Chacin with a pair of homers and a 1.859 OPS.
Insight: Jones hasn't hit one out in 11 games, but this favorable matchup might be just the thing to change that situation.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP8/1/2013 9:35:00 PM
Description: Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (elbow) is not likely to return before September, according to MLB.com.
Insight: Rodriguez played catch from 60 feet Thursday, nearly two months after he left a start with forearm discomfort. He'll need to throw a bullpen session before he has a timetable, and he's not quite ready to do that yet. "I need to throw a side, hard. After a bullpen I'll be able to tell you guys more about how I feel," Rodriguez told reporters.
Andrew McCutchen, CF7/31/2013 9:45:00 AM
Description: Pirates star center fielder Andrew McCutchen is a .429 hitter against Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright.
Insight: McCutchen hit his 15th homer of the season Tuesday, is 5-for-14 with five runs scored over his last three games and has nine hits in 21 at-bats against Wednesday's scheduled starter. He could be in for a big day.
Russell Martin, C7/31/2013 9:42:00 AM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin has crushed Cy Young candidate Adam Wainwright in their previous showdowns.
Insight: Martin owns a .500 lifetime average (8-for-16) with two doubles and two walks against Wainwright. The Cardinals righty has never struck out Martin, who is hitting .247 with nine homers, nine steals and a .753 OPS this season.
Andrew McCutchen, CFCold7/30/2013 10:13:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is just 3-for-17 (.176) with five strikeouts versus Cardinals right-hander Lance Lynn.
Insight: McCutchen has had a tough last seven days, batting just .227 over six games, but is still over the .300 mark for the season.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B7/29/2013 10:06:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez went 1-for-4 with a three-run homer and a walk Monday against the Cardinals.
Insight: Alvarez came in 12-for-21 (.571) with two homers and a 1.543 OPS against St. Louis starter Jake Westbrook, and he greeted Westbrook with a first-inning blast Monday night. Alvarez' production tailed off somewhat this month after his monster June, but he still has seven homers in July and 27 on the year.
Francisco Liriano, SPHot7/29/2013 10:01:00 PM
Description: Pirates ace Francisco Liriano dropped his ERA to 2.16 in a win over St. Louis Monday.
Insight: Liriano (11-4) has gone from a posting an ERA above 5.00 in three of the previous four seasons with Minnesota to a Cy Young contender with the Pirates. He's one of the major reasons why Pittsburgh leads the majors in ERA.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B7/29/2013 11:26:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez owns a stunning .571 batting average (12-for-21) with a pair of home runs and a 1.543 OPS against Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook.
Insight: The streaky Alvarez was a huge factor in June (.309, 10 HR, 24 RBI, 1.060 OPS), but July wasn't nearly as productive. Still, this matchup should warrant must-start status.
Gerrit Cole, SP7/28/2013 7:10:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Gerrit Cole struck out eight batters and allowed four hits and three earned runs over seven innings in a loss to the Marlins Sunday.
Insight: Cole has lived up to expectations, going 5-4 with a 3.56 ERA, a 1.13 WHIP and 37 K in 55 2/3 innings. The right-hander has walked just 12 batters (1.94 BB/9).
Russell Martin, C7/28/2013 11:21:00 AM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin is back in the lineup Sunday against Miami. SOURCE: Travis Sawchik, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Insight: Martin tweaked his knee Friday night and got the day off on Saturday. He's not 100 percent, but neither is his backup Michael McKenry (knee). The Pirates have Tony Sanchez available off the bench if Martin aggravates the injury.
Michael McKenry, C7/27/2013 10:40:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh catcher Michael McKenry blew up for four hits Saturday in a win over the Marlins.
Insight: It's the first four-hit game of McKenry's career. He's only seen 115 at bats in 2013 and even after the four-hit performance he's still hitting just .217 for the season. Unless Russell Martin gets injured, you won't need to pay much attention to McKenry going forward.
Jason Grilli, RP7/26/2013 3:35:00 PM
Description: According to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pirates closer Jason Grilli has been diagnosed with a flexor strain in his right forearm.
Insight: Grilli was examined by Dr. James Andrews in addition to team doctors. The right-hander won't have surgery, but will need to rest for 4-8 weeks. He'll be reevaluated in about two weeks and the team should be able to provide a more precise timetable then. Mark Melancon will hold onto the closer role while Grilli is out and should be added in all leagues.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP7/25/2013 5:40:00 PM
Description: Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (elbow) made about 60 throws on flat ground from 80 feet Wednesday, according to Tom Singer of MLB.com.
Insight: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said that Rodriguez still has a "long way to go." The lefty hasn't pitched since early June due to forearm and elbow soreness.
Neil Walker, 2B7/25/2013 11:23:00 AM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker is not in Thursday afternoon's starting lineup.
Insight: Walker missed two weeks earlier this month with a right oblique strain, but this doesn't appear to be related. He is only hitting .240 this season with a .721 OPS.
Francisco Liriano, SPHot7/24/2013 10:25:00 PM
Description: Pirates ace Francisco Liriano notched his tenth win of the season Wednesday against the Nationals.
Insight: Where is this coming from? After a few brutal seasons in Minnesota, Liriano has completely reinvented himself in Pittsburgh. Tonight he allowed just two hits in 7 2/3 shutout innings, walking three with eight strikeouts. His 2.23 ERA is tied for third-best in the National League.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B7/24/2013 10:50:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez has only faced Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg six times, but he's yet to get a hit and struck out four times. He did walk one time.
Insight: Alvarez is prone to long slumps due to his high strikeout rate, but he's one of the top power hitters in the game when he heats up. He's hitting .243 with 25 homers and 63 RBI this season after knocking one out of the park on Tuesday.
Garrett Jones, 1B7/24/2013 10:48:00 AM
Description: Pirates 1B/OF Garrett Jones is 1-for-9 against Washington ace Stephen Strasburg with six strikeouts.
Insight: Jones is 1-for-5 in the first two games of the series and faces a tough pitcher which he hasn't hit well in the past. Avoid this matchup.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B7/23/2013 9:55:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez snapped out of a 1-for-21 (.048) slump by going 2-for-4 with a solo home run Tuesday against the Nationals.
Insight: Alvarez is prone to long slumps due to his high strikeout rate, but he's one of the top power hitters in the game when he heats up. He's hitting .243 with 25 homers and 63 RBI this season.
Gerrit Cole, SP7/23/2013 9:51:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Gerrit Cole two-hit the Nationals and gave up one run over seven innings Tuesday to improve to 5-3.
Insight: The Nationals just fired their hitting coach Rick Eckstein. Cole, who has a 3.51 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP through his first 48 2/3 big league innings, hasn't allowed more than three runs in any start this season.
Jason Grilli, RP7/23/2013 7:29:00 PM
Description: According to Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pirates closer Jason Grilli (forearm) did not feel a pop in his elbow at any point Monday.
Insight: Grilli had general soreness in his forearm all inning that peaked with his last pitch, so he's still not out of the woods yet, but it's good news that he didn't feel a pop. Mark Melancon should be added in all fantasy leagues, as he'll close while Grilli is out.
Neil Walker, 2B7/23/2013 6:03:00 PM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (oblique) will return from the DL Tuesday.
Insight: Walker hasn't played since July 6 due to a right oblique strain. Walker is only hitting .244 this season, but that can partially be attributed to bad luck -- he has a line-drive rate of 26 percent, but his BABIP is just .285.
Jason Grilli, RP7/23/2013 4:32:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh closer Jason Grilli has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right forearm injury.
Insight: He is headed back to Pittsburgh for more tests. Mark Melancon should take over the closing role until Grilli returns. It's a huge blow for fantasy owners as Grilli and his 30 saves have been one of the best closers in the league this season.
Jason Grilli, RP7/22/2013 10:43:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh closer Jason Grilli was removed from Monday night's game against the Nationals after hurting his right arm. SOURCE: Jesse Spector, Sporting News
Insight: Vin Mazzaro came in and got his first save of the season. If the injury turns out to be serious, Mark Melancon would be next up to close. Melancon was unavailable for tonight's game because he pitched on Saturday and Sunday.
Andrew McCutchen, CFHot7/22/2013 10:30:00 PM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen launched two homers Monday in a win over Washington.
Insight: Monday was McCutchen's first multi-homer game since July 8, 2012. He's hitting .333 since June 1st.
Garrett Jones, 1B7/21/2013 5:34:00 PM
Description: Pirates 1B/OF Garrett Jones has homered in two straight games.
Insight: He went 1-for-3 Sunday and is 4-for-9 in his first three games following the All-Star break. Jones hit 15 home runs and had an .860 OPS last year during the second half after hitting 12 homers with a .797 OPS during the first.
Jeff Locke, SP7/21/2013 5:26:00 PM
Description: In his first start since July 8, Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke (back) allowed just one hit and one earned run while striking out six in six innings Sunday to beat the Reds.
Insight: Locke was scratched from his final start before the All-Star break due to a sore back. He's now 9-2 with a 2.11 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. Locke's .223 BABIP and 3.77 FIP suggest major regression is in store for the left-hander, but it hasn't happened yet.
Andrew McCutchen, CFHot7/20/2013 10:32:00 PM
Description: Andrew McCutchen continued his torrid July with another monster game Saturday against Cincinnati.
Insight: The Pirates center fielder collected four hits in the game and finished a triple away from the cycle. He's hitting .412 with nine RBI this month.
Starling Marte, LF7/19/2013 10:44:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte is hitting .341 over his last 19 games.
Insight: He went 2-for-5 with a solo home run Friday at Cincinnati. The outfielder is hitting .292 with 10 homers, 29 RBI, 60 runs and 28 steals. His superstar teammate Andrew McCutchen? He's batting .303 with 11 homers, 50 RBI, 57 runs and 21 steals.
Neil Walker, 2B7/19/2013 4:28:00 PM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (side) will begin his rehab assignent Friday night at Indianapolis, according to beat writer Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune.
Insight: Walker hasn't played since July 6 due to a right oblique strain. The switch-hitter is expected to play three games and be activated on Monday. He's batting .244 with six homers, 26 RBI and a .731 OPS.
Francisco Liriano, SP7/19/2013 10:08:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano closed out the first half with four straight wins, a 9-3 record and a 2.00 ERA, but he allowed five hits, walked four and gave up five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings Friday night at Cincinnati.
Insight: Liriano has been brilliant this season, but we haven't forgotten his struggles of 2009-12. Fantasy owners should start shopping him to gauge his value.
Jose Contreras, RP7/18/2013 7:41:00 PM
Description: For the second time in the last two months, the Pirates have released Jose Contreras.
Insight: In seven games for Pittsburgh this season, Contreras is 0-0 with an ERA of 9.00. The 41-year-old righthander has played for four teams since 2009. At this point, it might be time to call it a career.
Mark Melancon, RP7/14/2013 3:37:00 PM
Description: Pirates reliever Mark Melancon has been invited to Tuesday's All-Star Game at Citi Field.
Insight: He'll replace teammate Jeff Locke on the National League roster. Locke bowed out because of a back injury. It's hard to argue with Melancon's selection. The 28-year-old is 2-1 with a 0.81 ERA in 45 relief appearances this season. Melancon was traded to Pittsburgh this past offseason after a disastrous year in Boston in 2012 (0-2, 6.20 ERA).
Andrew McCutchen, CFHot7/13/2013 10:42:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen blasted his 10th home run of the season Saturday against the Mets.
Insight: McCutchen has a .303 average, 56 runs, 10 home runs, 49 RBI and 19 steals. In last year's first half, McCutchen batted .362 with 58 runs, 18 longballs, 60 RBI and 14 steals, so his numbers have taken a step back.
Jeff Locke, SP7/13/2013 5:51:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Jeff Locke will miss Sunday's start due to a sore back, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Gerrit Cole will start against the Mets.
Insight: Locke has posted a 1.64 ERA over 93 1/3 innings over his last 15 starts and will represent the National League in the All-Star game next week. The lefty is likely to face major regression in the second half -- his BABIP is .228 and his FIP is 3.82.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B7/11/2013 5:54:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez will replace Carlos Gonzalez as the fourth man on David Wright's NL Home Run Derby team.
Insight: Gonzalez will bow out due to a sprained finger. Alvarez is hitting .253 with 23 home runs and 60 RBI this season and is a solid choice for the contest.
Francisco Liriano, SPHot7/11/2013 10:08:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh lefthander Francisco Liriano was sensational Wednesday in a win against Oakland.
Insight: He walked one and struck out six over seven scoreless innings. The victory was the team's first in 12 tries against the A's. Liriano (9-3) heads into the All-Star break with four wins in a row and a team-leading 2.00 ERA.
Xavier Paul, CF7/10/2013 1:52:00 PM
Description: Cincinnati outfielder Xavier Paul returns to the starting lineup on Wednesday afternoon after pinch-hitting the past couple of days due to a shoulder injury.
Insight: Paul tried to hold down the fort while replacing Ryan Ludwick (shoulder) and Chris Heisey (hamstring), but didn't do anything to get fantasy owners excited about his play. He is batting .247 with five homers and 26 RBI. Heisey is back, but neither can produce as well as Ludwick, who should be back in early August.
Neil Walker, 2B7/9/2013 7:55:00 PM
Description: The Pirates have placed second baseman Neil Walker (side) on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to July 7.
Insight: Walker hasn't played since Saturday due to a right oblique strain. The switch-hitter can swing from the right side of the plate but is experiencing pain when swinging from the left side. Expect Brandon Inge and Jordy Mercer to platoon at second base.
Neil Walker, 2B7/9/2013 4:59:00 PM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (side) is out of the lineup Tuesday, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Insight: Walker hasn't played since Saturday due to discomfort in his right side. He's considered day-to-day.
Andrew McCutchen, CFHot7/8/2013 10:24:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh center fielder Andrew McCutchen extended his hitting streak to 10 games Monday in a loss to the A's.
Insight: The three-time All-Star has hit .422 during the streak. He's on pace for 33 steals this season, which would match a career-high.
Jeff Locke, SP7/8/2013 10:17:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh lefthander Jeff Locke watched his 16-start unbeaten streak come to an end Monday night against Oakland.
Insight: Locke (7 IP, 3 H, 2 ER) had an excellent game but the Pirates' offense could only muster one run against A's starter Bartolo Colon. The 25-year-old Locke (8-2, 2.15 ERA) will represent the NL in next week's All-Star Game at Citi Field. It's Locke first All-Star appearance in three major league seasons.
Neil Walker, 2B7/8/2013 6:52:00 PM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker won't be in the lineup Monday versus Oakland.
Insight: He'll miss his second straight game with oblique discomfort. Brandon Inge will again get the start in Walker's place.
Starling Marte, LF7/7/2013 9:30:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte hit his ninth home run of the season Sunday against the Cubs.
Insight: Marte scored two runs, giving him 58 on the year. He's been one of the best fantasy options in the game this season.
A.J. Burnett, SP7/7/2013 9:26:00 PM
Description: Pirates righty A.J. Burnett threw five innings and allowed three hits and two runs (one earned) in his return to the mound Sunday against the Cubs.
Insight: Burnett was making his first start since June 8 after recovering from a Grade 1 tear of his right calf. He's 4-6 with a 3.05 ERA, a 1.12 WHIP and a 102/37 K/BB in 94 1/3 innings this season.
Neil Walker, 2BCold7/7/2013 12:49:00 PM
Description: Neil Walker injured his side Saturday against the Cubs and won't be available for the series finale on Sunday.
Insight: The Pirates second baseman has been slumping lately (just four hits in his last 23 at bats) so the injury gives fantasy owners a good excuse to get him out of the lineup. Brandon Inge will start in Walker's place.
Russell Martin, C7/7/2013 12:04:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin has had nice success against Chicago starter Carlos Villanueva in the past.
Insight: He's batting .500 against the Cubs righthander with a home run and four RBI in ten at bats. Martin hasn't hit for as much power as he did last season (on pace for 15 HR) but his average has improved by over 40 points (.252 for the Pirates versus just .211 last year with the Yankees).
A.J. Burnett, SP7/7/2013 10:53:00 AM
Description: After missing about a month with a strained calf, righthander A.J. Burnett will return to the Pirates' rotation Sunday against the Cubs.
Insight: Burnett is 1-1 against Chicago this year with a 3.21 ERA. Pittsburgh holds a one-game lead in the NL Central heading into Sunday's series finale.
Pedro Alvarez, 3BCold7/6/2013 9:59:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is just 1-for-13 with four strikeouts against Cubs right-hander Edwin Jackson.
Insight: Alvarez has slowed down after producing a monster June in which he blasted 10 home runs and batted .309 with 24 RBI. He's batting just .190 over his past five games (4-for-21).
Andrew McCutchen, CFHot7/6/2013 9:57:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is a career .412 hitter with a pair of home runs in 17 at-bats versus Cubs starter Edwin Jackson.
Insight: McCutchen's average is hovering around the .300 mark, but he's a career .332 hitter against the Cubs which is his best mark against any division rival.
Francisco Liriano, SP7/5/2013 7:30:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Francisco Liriano dominated the game and completed just the second complete game of his career. He threw 111 pitches, yielding just four hits and striking out seven.
Insight: Not a single player for the Cubs had a batting above .250 or had more than two career hits against Liriano with four starters (Dioner Navaaro, Darwin Barney, Scott Hairston and Anthony Rizzo) hitless against the left-hander heading into the game, so we expected a good outing.
Francisco Liriano, SP7/5/2013 3:00:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Francisco Liriano will face a Chicago Cubs lineup that he has dominated in past matchups.
Insight: Not a single player for the Cubs is batting above .250 or has more than two career hits against Liriano with four players (Dioner Navaaro, Darwin Barney, Scott Hairston and Anthony Rizzo) hitless against the left-hander.
Gerrit Cole, SP7/4/2013 5:21:00 PM
Description: Pirates rookie Gerrit Cole lost the first game of his career Thursday against the Phillies.
Insight: Cole gave up eight hits and three earned runs in 5 1/3 innings Thursday. The right-hander is now 4-1 with a 3.94 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP in his first five big league starts.
Andrew McCutchen, CF7/4/2013 9:23:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen reached .300 Wednesday night for the first time since April 5.
Insight: McCutchen went 3-for-3 with a triple, two walks, two runs and a steal against the Phillies to raise his average to an even .300. While his stats don't quite reflect it, McCutchen has been a better hitter than last season -- he has trimmed his K rate from 19.6 percent to 14.2 percent and raised his line-drive rate from 21.9 percent to 25 percent. However, his chase rate is also up from 25.9 percent to 30.3 percent, which might explain why his HR/FB has declined from 19.4 percent to 10 percent.
Pedro Alvarez, 3BHot7/4/2013 9:15:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI to propel Pittsburgh to a 6-5 win over the Phillies Wednesday night.
Insight: Alvarez is batting .296 with 15 homers, 38 RBI and a 1.064 OPS in 38 games since May 17 and .395 with six bombs and 13 RBI over his last 11 games. The third baseman also has a strikeout rate of 32.9 percent during the latter stretch and a strikeout rate of 33.7 percent for the season, so he won't hit higher than .240.
A.J. Burnett, SP7/3/2013 9:12:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter A.J. Burnett (calf) doesn't think he'll need to go on a rehab assignment, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I don't know why I'd need it," he said Wednesday. "I didn't hurt my arm."
Insight: Burnett has been out since the second week of June due to a Grade 1 tear of his right calf. He'll throw a bullpen session Thursday and could return as soon as Sunday or Monday.
James McDonald, SP7/3/2013 9:08:00 PM
Description: Pirates right-hander James McDonald will be shut down for 2-3 weeks due to shoulder tightness, according to MLB.com.
Insight: McDonald doesn't have any structural damage in his shoulder, but it isn't improving either. He has been out since early May with the injury.
Andrew McCutchen, CF7/3/2013 10:30:00 AM
Description: Pirates star outfielder Andrew McCutchen is 7-for-16 (.438) with four extra-base hits against Phillies starter John Lannan.
Insight: McCutchen hasn't been quite as dominant as last year but he's still in the midst of a very productive season (.293, 9 HR, 42 RBI, 50 runs, 16 SB). Facing Lannan should add to those totals.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP7/1/2013 2:58:00 PM
Description: Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (elbow) has been given a platelet-rich plasma injection and will be on a rest, treatment and rehab plan for three weeks, according to Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: Rodriguez, who has been out since earlier this month due to forearm tightness, experienced soreness in his elbow after his rehab start last Sunday and during his throwing session over the weekend.
Vin Mazzaro, SP6/30/2013 10:10:00 PM
Description: Vin Mazzaro kept the Pirates in the game by tossing five perfect innings in relief Sunday against Milwaukee.
Insight: Both teams lost their starters to a two and a half hour rain dealy. Mazzaro was amazingly efficient during his outing as he averaged less than nine pitches per inning. He's been great for the Bucs this season, compiling a masterful 2.52 ERA in 27 appearances out of the pen.
A.J. Burnett, SP6/30/2013 10:58:00 AM
Description: Pirates starter A.J. Burnett (calf) will throw a simulated game Tuesday, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: Burnett has been out since the second week of June due to a Grade 1 tear of his right calf. He threw a 38-pitch bullpen session Friday with no issues and could begin a rehab assignment if he gets through Tuesday's simulated game without a problem.
Neil Walker, 2B6/30/2013 10:44:00 AM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker has a .381 batting average versus Milwaukee's Kyle Lohse.
Insight: Walker has gone 8-for-21 with three doubles, a triple, five RBI and a walk against Sunday's scheduled starter. The second baseman is hitting .368 with three doubles, one homer, four RBI and four walks over his last six games and should be in all lineups Sunday.
Francisco Liriano, SP6/29/2013 10:58:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Francisco Liriano tossed six innings and allowed one run on seven hits Saturday against the visiting Brewers.
Insight: Year-after-year, Liriano has been plagued by walks and by awful performances with men on base. He has posted a walk rate over 4.00, a strand rate under 69 percent and an ERA over 5.00 in three of the previous four seasons. This year, however, his BB/9 is 3.41, his strand rate is 83.3 percent and his ERA is 2.23.
Pedro Alvarez, 3BHot6/29/2013 10:52:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez hit his 10th homer of June and 20th of the season Saturday against the Brewers. He's batting .330 this month.
Insight: With a strikeout rate north of 30 percent Alvarez is not going to be a high-average hitter, but he's very hard to cool off when he gets hot. It's also very easy to tell when Alvarez is about to enter into an extended cold streak, so fantasy owners should be able to yank him from their lineups at just the right time after a few days of o-fers. Right now, though, he should be active in all fantasy lineups.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP6/29/2013 6:22:00 PM
Description: Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez has been shut down after experiencing tightness in his forearm after his most recent throwing session, according to Tom Singer of MLB.com.
Insight: Rodriguez, who has been out since earlier this month due to forearm tightness, was hoping to return this week before experiencing soreness after his rehab start Sunday. He'll likely be out until the All-Star break, if not longer.
Gerrit Cole, SP6/28/2013 10:25:00 PM
Description: Pirates righthander Gerrit Cole improved to 4-0 Friday with a win over Milwaukee.
Insight: Cole hasn't been nearly as impressive as his record would indicate. He only has 11 strikeouts in four games and batters are hitting .277 against him. Cole has also been getting a ton of run support as the Pirates are averaging over seven runs per game when he starts. We're not saying Cole is doing poorly. We're just not ready to call him an ace just yet.
Neil Walker, 2B6/26/2013 7:05:00 PM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker hit his sixth homer of the season Wednesday versus Seattle.
Insight: Walker went 2-for-3 with two RBI in the game. The second baseman has had an underwhelming season, batting .255 with 23 RBI in 64 games.
Jeanmar Gomez, SP6/26/2013 7:02:00 PM
Description: Pirates pitcher Jeanmar Gomez struck out five and allowed one unearned run on three hits in five innings Wednesday against the Mariners.
Insight: Gomez last pitched June 2 due to right forearm tightness. The right-hander has a 2.76 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in 49 innings this season, but he could lose his rotation spot when Wandy Rodriguez returns.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP6/25/2013 8:35:00 PM
Description: Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (forearm) was sore after his rehab start Sunday, according to Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: Rodriguez has been out since earlier this month due to forearm tightness. He'll throw a bullpen Friday and make another rehab start Monday.
James McDonald, SP6/25/2013 5:54:00 PM
Description: Pirates right-hander James McDonald is still experiencing discomfort in his right shoulder, according to Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: The team said earlier Tuesday that McDonald was scheduled to see Dr. James Andrews this week, but that won't happen due to a scheduling conflict. He'll either see Andrews at a later date or another doctor this week.
Gaby Sanchez, 1B6/25/2013 9:55:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh first baseman Gaby Sanchez is 6-for-12 with a home run versus Seattle starter Joe Saunders.
Insight: Sanchez is pounding left-handers to the tune of a .320 batting average with a 1.065 OPS. He is coming off back-to-back two-hit games and this favorable matchup makes him a must start.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP6/23/2013 10:58:00 PM
Description: Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (forearm) allowed four hits and one run and struck out five over four innings Sunday in his first rehab start.
Insight: Rodriguez has been out since earlier this month due to forearm tightness, but he could be ready to return after starting Sunday for Triple-A Indianapolis.
Pedro Alvarez, 3BHot6/23/2013 9:45:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez has homered in four straight games.
Insight: Alvarez has gone 9-for-16 (.563) with eight RBI in that span. He has his average up to .237, which is close to an acceptable level for someone with 19 home runs and 51 RBI.
Andrew McCutchen, CF6/23/2013 12:30:00 PM
Description: Bad news, Andrew McCutchen owners. Angels righthander Joe Blanton has owned the All-Star center fielder in 13 previous at bats.
Insight: McCutchen hasn't been quite as dominant as last year but he's still in the midst of a very productive season (.288, 8 HR, 37 RBI, 15 SB). However, Blanton (1-10, 5.62 ERA) has been a tough matchup for McCutchen in the past (.154 lifetime average).
Francisco Liriano, SP6/23/2013 10:11:00 AM
Description: Pirates lefthander Francisco Liriano was tremendous Saturday in a win against the Angels.
Insight: In 6 2/3 innings, Liriano allowed seven hits, three walks and just one earned run as Pittsburgh won for the third time in a row. The move from Minnesota to Western Pennsylvania has done wonders for Liriano's fantasy value. He's 6-3 with a 2.30 ERA after going 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA in 22 games for the Twins in 2012.
Jeanmar Gomez, SP6/21/2013 6:55:00 PM
Description: Pirates right-hander Jeanmar Gomez (forearm) will return from the DL to start Wednesday against Seattle, according to Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: Gomez threw five scoreless innings Wednesday with Triple-A Indianapolis and threw an additional 18 pitches in the bullpen afterward to reach 70 total pitches. He has been on the DL since early June with a strained right forearm, but a matchup with Seattle is not a bad way to return.
Gerrit Cole, SP6/21/2013 4:21:00 PM
Description: According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pirates rookie right-hander Gerrit Cole is likely headed back to the minors at some point this season to avoid Super 2 status, but it would only be for a week or 10 days.
Insight: The top 22 percent of players with the most major-league service time between two and three years will become eligible for salary arbitration after the 2015 season. The other 78 percent won't be eligible for arbitration until after following season. The Pirates will have to figure out if Cole spent enough time in the minors to avoid becoming a Super 2. He was called up on June 11.
Jeanmar Gomez, SP6/21/2013 4:18:00 PM
Description: Pirates right-hander Jeanmar Gomez (forearm) could be ready to return to the rotation without making another rehab start, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: Gomez threw five scoreless innings Wednesday with Triple-A Indianapolis and threw an additional 18 pitches in the bullpen afterward to reach 70 total pitches. Gomez has been on the DL since early June with a strained right forearm.
A.J. Burnett, SP6/21/2013 4:17:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter A.J. Burnett (calf) threw off flat ground before Thursday's game, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: Burnett is out indefinitely with a Grade 1 tear of his right calf. He's not ready to throw off a mound yet.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B6/20/2013 7:05:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez went 3-for-4 with a homer and five RBI Thursday afternoon against the Reds.
Insight: Alvarez came in 0-for-9 with five K against Thursday's starter Homer Bailey, so his big day was unlikely. He singled in the third and homered in the fifth off Bailey before hitting a bases-clearing double in the seventh against reliever Tony Cingrani. Alvarez has 16 home runs and 48 RBI, but is hitting just .223 with 84 strikeouts this season.
Pedro Alvarez, 3BCold6/20/2013 10:56:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is not only hitless in nine at-bats versus Reds starter Homer Bailey, but he's struck out five times.
Insight: The third baseman has struck out 83 times in 220 at-bats. While he's also hit 15 homers, it's not likely that he gets hold of one on Thursday in this extremely unfavorable matchup.
Andrew McCutchen, CF6/19/2013 11:31:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen hasn't been able to figure out Reds starter Bronson Arroyo.
Insight: It's tough to bench the dynamic McCutchen, but he has gone 1-for-19 (.053) against Arroyo. He's unlikely to have a good day Wednesday.
Russell Martin, CCold6/17/2013 3:40:00 PM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin, who was scratched from Sunday's lineup due to lower-body soreness, is back in the starting lineup for Monday's game with Cincinnati.
Insight: Martin is hitting just .195 with a .605 OPS in 12 games this month. We hope to some day find the guy who batted .274 with six homers in April.
Andrew McCutchen, CF6/17/2013 10:21:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is just 7-for-36 (.194) with eight strikeouts against Cincinnati starter Mike Leake.
Insight: Batting .294 with an .818 OPS McCutchen is not hitting up to last year's standards, but he's still producing solid fantasy results (44 runs, seven homers, 35 RBI, 15 steals).
Gerrit Cole, SP6/16/2013 10:15:00 PM
Description: Gerrit Cole's second start didn't go as well as his first but it was good enough to get the win Sunday against Los Angeles.
Insight: The Pirates righthander gave up seven hits and three runs in 5 2/3 innings. Cole (2-0, 3.75 ERA) hasn't walked a batter yet but he only has three strikeouts in 12 innings.
Russell Martin, CCold6/16/2013 12:05:00 PM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin has been scratched from Sunday's lineup due to lower-body soreness, according to Tom Singer of MLB.com.
Insight: Martin is hitting just .195 with a .605 OPS in 12 games this month. It's unclear what part of his lower body is sore.
Starling Marte, LF6/16/2013 11:39:00 AM
Description: A sore rib cage will keep Pirates outfielder Starling Marte on the bench for the fourth straight game Sunday, according to Tom Singer of MLB.com. He's likely headed for the disabled list.
Insight: He last played Wednesday, when he went 4-for-5 against the Giants. Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Saturday that if Marte wasn't ready to return to the lineup by the end of the weekend, the team would place him on the DL.
Garrett Jones, 1B6/16/2013 11:12:00 AM
Description: Pirates 1B/OF Garrett Jones is Pittsburgh's starting first baseman against right-handed pitching, but he has been terrible against Dodgers starter Zack Greinke.
Insight: Jones is .176 (3-for-17) with five strikeouts and a .353 OPS against Greinke, and he's not even doing that well against righties this season. He has a .269 average, six homers and a .762 OPS against them, which is not enough to warrant a fantasy roster spot in most leagues.
A.J. Burnett, SP6/15/2013 4:18:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter A.J. Burnett said Friday that he has a Grade 1 year of his right calf and is out indefinitely, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Insight: Burnett can't put any weight on his leg. The right-hander said he suffered the injury when he was finishing up a series of sprints Wednesday. He's hoping it doesn't turn into a "six-week thing."
Starling Marte, LF6/15/2013 11:27:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte is still battling sore ribs and is doubtful for Saturday's game against the LA Dodgers.
Insight: He hasn't played since Wednesday. Alex Presley (.240) will likely start in left field if Marte can't go.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B6/15/2013 10:20:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is not only hitless against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, but contact-less with six strikeouts in six at-bats
Insight: The third baseman must be avoided on Saturday.
Jeff Locke, SPHot6/14/2013 10:13:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh lefty Jeff Locke tossed seven shutout innings Friday against Los Angeles.
Insight: Locke (2.19 ERA) recorded his sixth win in the process. He hasn't lost a start since April 7th. Ironically, that game was also against the Dodgers. His next outing is scheduled for Wednesday versus Cincinnati.
Starling Marte, LF6/14/2013 6:04:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte is still battling sore ribs.
Insight: He won't be on the field Friday against the Dodgers. Alex Presley (.238, 1 HR, 1 RBI) will make his second start in a row in left field.
Starling Marte, LF6/14/2013 9:51:00 AM
Description: Pirates left fielder Starling Marte didn't play Thursday and is questionable for Friday's game against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Insight: He was a late scratch because of a sore rib cage. Marte has become a reliable fantasy value batting .289 with 42 runs scored, 20 SB, six homers and 19 RBI.
A.J. Burnett, SP6/13/2013 7:17:00 PM
Description: The Pirates have placed righthander A.J. Burnett on the 15-day DL with a strained right calf.
Insight: Burnett will be eligible to return on June 25th against Seattle. Despite a losing record (4-6), the 36-year-old has actually posted a lower ERA this season (3.12) than he did in 2012 (3.51 in 31 starts).
Starling Marte, LF6/13/2013 6:52:00 PM
Description: Pirates left fielder Starling Marte won't play Thursday against the Giants.
Insight: He was a late scratch because of a sore rib cage. Alex Presley (.294, 1 HR, 1 RBI) will get the start in left.
A.J. Burnett, SP6/13/2013 4:14:00 PM
Description: Pirates pitcher A.J. Burnett has been scratched from Saturday's start due to right calf pain, according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: Pittsburgh's rotation has been riddled with injuries. James McDonald, Charlie Morton, Wandy Rodriguez, Francisco Liriano, Jeff Karstens and Jeamar Gomez all have spent time on the DL this season.
Andrew McCutchen, CF6/12/2013 10:38:00 PM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen had three hits, three RBI and two runs in five at-bats Wednesday versus San Francisco.
Insight: McCutchen's average is up to .297, tied for his highest since the fourth game of the season. He also reached .297 on May 26, but went 7-for-37 (.189) over his next 10 games. He is 8-for-14 (.571) over his last four games.
Neil Walker, 2B6/12/2013 10:36:00 PM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker went 2-for-4 with three RBI Wednesday versus the Giants.
Insight: Walker showed potential that he could be a top-10 fantasy second baseman last season when he hit .280 with 14 homers and 69 RBI in 472 at-bats, but he is batting just .257 with four home runs and 19 RBI this season.
Starling Marte, LFHot6/12/2013 10:32:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh left fielder Starling Marte collected four hits and two steals in Wednesday's win against the Giants.
Insight: He also scored four runs. Marte (.289, 6 HR, 19 RBI) has now stolen a base in each of his last four games. That gives him 20 thefts for the season, second-best in the NL behind San Diego's Everth Cabrera.
Francisco Liriano, SP6/12/2013 10:28:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Francisco Liriano gave up eight hits and four earned runs in six innings Wednesday against the Giants.
Insight: Pittsburgh scored 12 runs off Barry Zito and the Giants' bullpen, so Liriano still got the win. The left-hander is 5-2 with a 2.36 ERA since returning from the DL, but we've seen how erratic he can be in the past with the Twins so it's tough to trust him.
James McDonald, SP6/12/2013 8:57:00 PM
Description: Pirates rmanager Clint Hurdle said right-hander James McDonald (shoulder) needs to make "more improvements" before he returns to the big leagues
Insight: McDonald allowed eight hits and five runs in six innings Tuesday in a rehab start with Triple-A Indianapolis. Hurdle didn't like the fact that McDonald only retired eight batters on three pitches or less and that all three of his off-speed pitches sat in the same velocity range (73-80 mph). Gerrit Cole may remain in the rotation the rest of the season given the injuries in Pittsburgh's rotation and McDonald's ineffectiveness since the 2012 All-Star break.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B6/11/2013 10:14:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez's big night at the plate Tuesday included three hits and a homer.
Insight: Alvarez drove in three. The third baseman has hit .274 with eight home runs and 19 RBI over his last 19 games and has 14 home runs this season.
Starling Marte, CF6/11/2013 10:12:00 PM
Description: Pirates outfielder Starling Marte hit a solo homer and stole a base Tuesday against the Giants.
Insight: Marte's average has dipped into the .270s, but he is still a valuable fantasy player. He has six homers, 38 runs and 18 steals.
Gerrit Cole, SP6/11/2013 10:10:00 PM
Description: Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole won his major league debut Tuesday against the Giants with 6 1/3 innings of two-run ball.
Insight: The hard-throwing Cole only struck out two and gave up seven hits, but he didn't walk a batter. The 2011 first overall pick should be owned in all fantasy leagues.
Charlie Morton, SP6/11/2013 7:25:00 PM
Description: Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton (elbow) will make his 2013 debut Thursday against the Giants.
Insight: Morton had Tommy John surgery last June. The right-hander went 10-10 with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP in 29 starts in 2011 and was 2-6 with a 4.65 ERA at the time of his injury last season. He's a decent NL-only starter but nothing more.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP6/11/2013 5:51:00 PM
Description: Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez (forearm) has been placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Insight: Rodriguez left his last start with forearm tightness. He was expected to miss just one start, but he'll miss at least two now. That means prospect Gerrit Cole, who will make his major league debut Tuesday, will get more time in the rotation.
Russell Martin, CCold6/11/2013 11:56:00 AM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin is just 1-for-17 (.059) against san Francisco right-hander Tim Lincecum.
Insight: After a big April (.274, 6 HR, 10 RBI, .904 OPS), Martin has struggled to find his swing. He's batting just .208 over the past four weeks with one home run and a .565 OPS. This isn't the matchup in which he'll turn it around.
Andrew McCutchen, CF6/11/2013 11:54:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is just a .083 hitter (1-for-12) with four strikeouts against Giants starter Tim Lincecum.
Insight: Keep him in your lineup despite the matchup, he's simply too dynamic to bench, just don't expect a big day.
Jeff Karstens, SP6/9/2013 10:18:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Jeff Karstens (shoulder) underwent shoulder surgery Friday that will sideline him for at least three months, according to Tom Singer of MLB.com.
Insight: Karstens had a debridement of his rotator cuff and labrum Friday in Los Angeles. The initial diagnosis is that Karstens will be able to start a throwing program in 10-12 weeks. That means top prospect Gerrit Cole could stick around with the Pirates if he pitches well and James McDonald remains on the DL.
Jeff Locke, SP6/9/2013 7:35:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Jeff Locke only gave up one run in 5 2/3 innings Sunday despite walking seven batters.
Insight: Locke only allowed one hit against the Cubs to limit the damage caused by his wildness. The left-hander has a 2.39 ERA this season, but his FIP is 3.98. He'll regress when his .242 BABIP does.
A.J. Burnett, SP6/8/2013 8:36:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh righthander A.J. Burnett almost went the distance Saturday in a win over the Cubs.
Insight: Burnett came within two outs of his first complete game of the season. Saturday was Burnett's first victory since May 3rd against Washington. He had been 0-4 in his previous six starts (3.92 ERA during that span).
Gerrit Cole, SP6/8/2013 4:02:00 PM
Description: It's official. Gerrit Cole will make his major league debut Tuesday against San Francisco. SOURCE: Michael Sanserino, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Insight: Pittsburgh drafted Cole first overall in the 2011 MLB draft following a brilliant career at UCLA. In 12 starts for Triple-A Indianapolis, Cole has gone 5-3 with a 2.91 ERA. Opponents have hit just .190 versus the righthander this season.
Starling Marte, CFCold6/8/2013 10:52:00 AM
Description: Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is hitless in nine at-bats versus Cubs starter Jeff Samardzija.
Insight: Marte has become a solid option in fantasy baseball this season, hitting .276 with five homers, 18 RBI, 15 steals and 36 runs, but has just three hits in his last 26 at-bats and should not be in fantasy lineups on Saturday.
Francisco Liriano, SPHot6/7/2013 9:33:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Francisco Liriano had his longest outing of the season Friday against the Cubs.
Insight: Liriano walked five but limited Chicago to two hits and struck out eight over seven scoreless innings. He is 4-2 with a 1.75 ERA and a 47/14 K/BB in 36 innings.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP6/7/2013 5:07:00 PM
Description: Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez has been diagnosed with inflammation in his left forearm, according to Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He's expected to avoid the DL.
Insight: Rodriguez left his last start with forearm tightness, but he seems to have avoided a serious injury. That's good news for Pittsburgh, who already have four starters on the disabled list. Rodriguez could make his next start on June 13 if he is healthy.
Gerrit Cole, SP6/7/2013 4:59:00 PM
Description: Gerrit Cole, the No. 1 pick in the 2011 MLB Draft, is "very likely" to make his major league debut Tuesday against the Giants, according to Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: Cole has a 2.91 ERA and a 47/28 K/BB in 68 innings with Triple-A Indianapolis this season. The right-hander throws 98 mph with ease and he has a plus slider, according to MLB.com's scouting report. The Pirates need a starter after pushing Wandy Rodriguez back due to left forearm inflammation. Pittsburgh currently has four starters -- James McDonald, Jeff Karstens, Jeanmar Gomez and Charlie Morton -- on the DL, so Cole could stick around and should be added in most leagues.
Garrett Jones, 1B6/7/2013 1:50:00 PM
Description: Pirates 1B/OF Garrett Jones is not in Friday afternoon's starting lineup versus the Cubs.
Insight: Jones is batting .256 this season with six homers and 28 RBI, but is 0-for-5 against today's scheduled starter Travis Wood.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B6/7/2013 11:20:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is just 1-for-9 with four strikeouts versus Chicago starter Travis Wood.
Insight: Alvarez (.199, 12 HR, 31 RBI) can still provide a long ball, but little else for fantasy owners. This matchup isn't likely to help.
Andrew McCutchen, CF6/7/2013 11:17:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is just a .077 hitter (1-for-13) with five strikeouts against Cubs' left-hander Travis Wood.
Insight: It's unusual for McCutchen not to hit a left-hander as he is a lifetime .324 hitter against southpaws versus a .279 hitter against right-handers. Keep him in your lineup, he's simply too dynamic to bench, but don't expect a big day.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP6/5/2013 9:24:00 AM
Description: Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez left Wednesday's game with forearm tightness, according to Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: Rodriguez faced just four batters. He's on his way back to Pittsburgh for further evaluation.
Neil Walker, 2B6/4/2013 4:54:00 PM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker is not in the starting lineup Tuesday.
Insight: Walker has followed up a 9-for-18 hot streak with a 2-for-14 (.143) slump. He's hitting .261 overall with four homers and 16 RBI.
Andrew McCutchen, CF6/3/2013 4:04:00 PM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is not in Monday's starting lineup against Atlanta.
Insight: McCutchen is 3-for-10 against tonight's schedule starter Kris Medlen, so it isn't because of a bad matchup. Until we hear otherwise we'll consider it simply a day of rest.
Garrett Jones, 1B6/3/2013 10:52:00 AM
Description: Pirates 1B/OF Garrett Jones is hitless in nine at-bats versus Braves right-hander Kris Medlen.
Insight: Jones hit a big-time eighth-inning two-run home run on Sunday to help his Pirates in a comeback win over the Reds, but this matchup should be avoided.
Jeanmar Gomez, SP6/2/2013 3:13:00 PM
Description: Pirates right-hander Jeanmar Gomez left Sunday's start after one inning with forearm tightness, according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: Gomez went 1-0 with a 2.15 ERA in 29 1/3 innings in his first six starts after joining the rotation on May 1, but he allowed four earned runs in the first inning Sunday. With Charlie Morton (elbow), James McDonald (shoulder) and Jeff Karstens (shoulder) on their way back, Gomez wasn't long for the rotation anyway.
Garrett Jones, 1B6/2/2013 10:40:00 AM
Description: Pirates 1B/OF Garrett Jones usually hits well against right-handers, but Reds starter Mat Latos is not one of them. Jones is 3-for-18 (.167) against Sunday's scheduled starter.
Insight: Jones has just seven at-bats against lefties this season and is hitting .278 with five homers and 26 RBI against right-handers. However, Latos has sent him back to the dugout empty-handed often in their previous meetings.
Andrew McCutchen, CF6/1/2013 10:40:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is 7-for-33 (.212) with eight strikeouts against Cincinnati starter Mike Leake.
Insight: Batting .287 with an .812 OPS McCutchen is not hitting up to last year's standards, but he's still producing solid fantasy results.
Neil Walker, 2BHot6/1/2013 10:38:00 AM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker is 9-for-23 (.391) with 11 RBI and a 1.178 OPS against Reds starteer Mike Leake.
Insight: Walker went hitless on Friday night to break up a streak of four consecutive multi-hit games. This favorable matchup could help him start a new streak.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B5/31/2013 7:55:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez missed Friday's game against Cincinnati.
Insight: Alvarez (.200, 10 HR, 29 RBI) had his wisdom teeth removed a few days ago. He's day-to-day.
Michael McKenry, C5/31/2013 3:26:00 PM
Description: Pirates backup catcher Michael McKenry will start on Friday night against Cincinnati in place of Russell Martin.
Insight: Martin is just 1-for-11 against Cincinnati's scheduled starter Johnny Cueto. McKenry is batting .250 with three homers and 10 RBI in 60 at-bats, but has only thrown out runners in 2 of 23 stolen base attempts and this lineup change could allow the Reds to steal more bases than normal.
Russell Martin, CCold5/31/2013 10:42:00 AM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin is just 1-for-11 against Cincinnati's scheduled starter Johnny Cueto.
Insight: After a big April (.274, 6 HR, 10 RBI, .904 OPS), Martin's bat has gone quiet in May (.246, 0 HR, 4 RBI, .664 OPS). Backup Michael McKenry is 0-for-3 against Cueto, so there is no good option behind the plate for the Pirates on Friday.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B5/30/2013 4:11:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez had two wisdom teeth removed Thursday and is not in the lineup, according to Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Insight: Alvarez will probably be sidelined for a few days. The third baseman is hitting .200 with 10 homers and 29 RBI this season.
Neil Walker, 2BHot5/29/2013 10:09:00 PM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker is 7-for-14 with a double, a triple and two homers in Pittsburgh's series against the Tigers.
Insight: Walker homered for the second straight day Wednesday off Anibal Sanchez, who had limited Walker to one hit in 11 previous at-bats. Pittsburgh will play Detroit one more time Thursday.
James McDonald, SP5/29/2013 1:28:00 PM
Description: Pirates right-hander James McDonald (shoulder) looked rusty in his first rehab assignment at Double-A Altoona, yielding three runs in less than an inning.
Insight: The good news is that no one heard anything about pain in the shoulder. The right-hander has a terrific first half in 2012, but has a 6.95 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP over 90 2/3 innings since the 2012 All-Star break.
Neil Walker, 2B5/29/2013 11:25:00 AM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker, a hero on Tuesday night with an 11th inning home run to beat Detroit, is just 1-for-11 against Wednesday's starter Anibal Sanchez.
Insight: Walker has pounded out five hits in the first two games against the Tigers with a double, triple and homer, but this is an unfavorable matchup.
Starling Marte, CF5/28/2013 3:49:00 PM
Description: Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is in Tuesday's starting lineup after missing Monday due to a migraine.
Insight: Marte has become a solid option in fantasy baseball this season, hitting .305 with five homers, 18 RBI, 13 steals and 36 runs.
Starling Marte, CF5/28/2013 10:46:00 AM
Description: Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was not in the starting lineup on Monday due to a migraine and is questionable for Tuesday's game against Detroit.
Insight: Marte has become a solid option in fantasy baseball this season, hitting .305 with five homers, 18 RBI, 13 steals and 36 runs. Hopefully, he'll be back in the lineup on Tuesday.
Starling Marte, CF5/27/2013 2:41:00 PM
Description: Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was not in the starting lineup on Monday due to a migraine.
Insight: Marte has become a solid option in fantasy baseball this season, hitting .305 with five homers, 18 RBI, 13 steals and 36 runs. Hopefully, he'll be back in the lineup on Tuesday.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B5/27/2013 9:30:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez is just 1-for-7 with four strikeouts against Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander.
Insight: Alvarez has 10 home runs this season, but also a .200 batting average and 53 strikeouts in 150 at-bats. Avoid this matchup.
Russell Martin, C5/27/2013 9:25:00 AM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin is the rare hitter with some success when facing Detroit ace Justin Verlander. The catcher is 5-for-12 (.417) with a home run and a 1.128 OPS.
Insight: After a big April (.274, 6 HR, 10 RBI, .904 OPS), Martin's bat has gone quiet in May (.217, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .638 OPS) and even this favorable matchup might not be able to wake it up.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B5/25/2013 8:48:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez cranked two homers Saturday in a win over the Brewers.
Insight: Alvarez is doing what he always does: striking out a ton and hitting lots of homers. In 146 at bats, the 26-year-old has racked up 51 K's and 10 long balls. Fantasy owners can expect more of the same Sunday in the series finale.
Jeff Locke, SPHot5/25/2013 8:21:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Jeff Locke extended his scoreless streak to 14 innings Saturday against Milwaukee.
Insight: Locke finished with seven strikeouts in six innings. The lefthander recorded his highest pitch count of the season on Saturday (100 pitches).
Andrew McCutchen, CF5/25/2013 11:26:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is 5-for-9 against Milwaukee starter Mike Fiers with the home runs and eight RBI.
Insight: Batting .290 with an .822 OPS McCutchen is not hitting up to last year's standards, but he's still producing solid fantasy results and this matchup should help.
A.J. Burnett, SPHot5/24/2013 10:42:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter A.J. Burnett limited the Brewers to three hits and two earned runs, walked two and fanned six in seven innings Friday night.
Insight: Burnett allowed two hits and both runs in the bottom of the second but was nearly flawless in the final five innings. The right-hander has been dominant this year, allowing just 49 hits and 20 earned runs and striking out 85 batters in 70 innings.
Pedro Alvarez, 3BCold5/24/2013 10:35:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is a career .167 hitter versus Milwaukee right-hander Marco Estrada with eight strikeouts.
Insight: Alvarez just can't seem to get it going this season, batting .180 in April and .204 in May. We're still waiting for him to show us that the 30 HR, 85 RBI season of a year ago wasn't a fluke, but we'll likely have to wait a bit longer.
Andrew McCutchen, CFHot5/23/2013 9:25:00 PM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen went 3-for-4 with two RBI Thursday and is now hitting .291.
Insight: That's McCutchen's highest batting average since April 5, four games into the season. McCutchen is 30-for-80 (.375) over his last 20 games. He appears to be over the knee soreness that bothered him over the weekend.
Francisco Liriano, SPHot5/22/2013 10:12:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Francisco Liriano beat the Cubs Wednesday to improve to 3-0.
Insight: Liriano surrendered two hits over seven scoreless innings. He tied a season-high with nine strikeouts in the win.
Garrett Jones, 1B5/22/2013 10:52:00 AM
Description: Pirates 1B/OF Garrett Jones is a career .091 hitter (1-for-11) against Cubs hurler Jeff Samardzija.
Insight: Jones is having a solid season (.282, 5 HR, 24 RBI), but this isn't a good matchup.
Jason Grilli, RP5/21/2013 10:31:00 PM
Description: Pirates closer Jason Grilli needed 35 pitches to get his 18th save of the season Tuesday against the Cubs.
Insight: Grilli allowed two hits, walked one and gave up a run but struck out Anthony Rizzo with two men on to preserve the win. He likely won't be available for a day or two.
Starling Marte, CF5/21/2013 3:46:00 PM
Description: Pirates outfielder Starling Marte is not in the starting lineup for Tuesday's game against the Chicago Cubs. No injury that we know of, just a rest day.
Insight: Marte has been a solid option in fantasy baseball this season, hitting .305 with five homers, 17 RBI, 10 steals and 33 runs. Jose Tabata will get the start and it's no coincidence that he's 5-for-7 against tonight's starter Matt Garza.
Andrew McCutchen, CF5/21/2013 3:43:00 PM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who had been scratched from the lineup Sunday due to right knee soreness, is in the starting lineup for Tuesday's game with the Cubs.
Insight: The outfielder is hitting .281 with six homers, 23 RBI, 31 runs and nine steals this season and is 7-for-14 over his last three games. Make sure he's back in your lineup.
Jeff Karstens, SP5/21/2013 3:40:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter Jeff Karstens (shoulder) made his second rehab start on Saturday at Double-A Altoona and went four innings without yielding an earned run.
Insight: Karstens doesn't have a clearly defined role when he returns to the Pirates, likely in early June, so fantasy owners should wait until we see how he is used before thinking about picking him up.
Andrew McCutchen, CF5/21/2013 11:17:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who has been scratched from the lineup Sunday due to right knee soreness, is probable for Tuesday's game against the Chicago Cubs.
Insight: The outfielder is hitting .281 with six homers, 23 RBI, 31 runs and nine steals this season and is 7-for-14 over his last three games. Make sure he's back in your lineup.
Neil Walker, 2BCold5/21/2013 10:22:00 AM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (.236, 1 HR, 11 RBI) is hitless in nine at-bats versus Cubs hurler Matt Garza with five strikeouts.
Insight: This would be a good time to get another look at backup Jordy Mercer (.244, 3 HR, 4 RBI, .774 OPS in 12 games).
Pedro Alvarez, 3BHot5/21/2013 10:18:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is a career .500 hitter versus Cubs right-hander Matt Garza.
Insight: Alvarez has homered in his last two games and has eight for the season. He continues to produce power numbers, but a low batting average (.201). This matchup could help both areas.
Jose Tabata, RF5/21/2013 10:16:00 AM
Description: Pirates right fielder Jose Tabata is 5-for-7 with a 1.714 OPS versus Cubs starter Matt Garza.
Insight: Tabata is only a part-time player these days, but this matchup should convince the team to get him back in the starting lineup and if that happens he should be in fantasy lineups.
Jeff Locke, RPHot5/19/2013 6:11:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke threw seven shutout innings Sunday against Houston.
Insight: Locke is undefeated in his last eight starts. Over that span, he's gone 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA in 46 2/3 innings. He's scheduled to make his next start Saturday in Milwaukee.
James McDonald, SP5/19/2013 3:20:00 PM
Description: Pirates right-hander James McDonald (shoulder) will begin his rehab assignment on May 27, according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: McDonald is dealing with right shoulder inflammation. He'll throw bullpen sessions Friday and Tuesday and 65 pitches for Double-A Altoona on May 27 if he gets through the bullpen sessions without an issue. The right-hander has a terrific first half in 2012, but has a 6.95 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP over 90 2/3 innings since the 2012 All-Star break.
Andrew McCutchen, CFHot5/19/2013 11:59:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen has been scratched from the lineup Sunday due to right knee soreness, according to Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: We should have an update on the severity of the injury later today. The outfielder is hitting .281 with six homers, 23 RBI, 31 runs and nine steals this season and is 7-for-14 over his last three games.
Andrew McCutchen, CF5/17/2013 10:37:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is 8-for-13 (.615) against Houston hurler Jordan Lyles.
Insight: McCutchen has struggled this week, but facing the Houston pitching staff should fix that problem. Historically, May is McCutchen's most productive month of the season (career .315 batting average, .930 OPS).
Garrett Jones, 1B5/17/2013 10:34:00 AM
Description: Pirates 1B/OF Garrett Jones is a career .500 hitter (6-for-12) with a pair of home runs and a 1.583 OPS against Houston starter Jordan Lyles.
Insight: Jones is having a solid season (.284, 5 HR, 23 RBI and going against the Astros pitching staff is almost always a good strategy.
Travis Snider, LF5/16/2013 10:38:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh right fielder Travis Snider clubbed his first home run of the season Thursday versus the Brewers.
Insight: He went 3-for-5 with three RBI. Snider's season average is up to .292, his highest since 2008.
Wandy Rodriguez, SPHot5/16/2013 9:24:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh left-hander Wandy Rodriguez won his second straight start Wednesday night by holding Milwaukee to one run on six hits in seven innings.
Insight: Rodriguez is allowing line drives at a rate of 16.3 percent, the lowest of his career, but in turn he has given up a higher rate of flyballs and HR/FB. Homers don't count towards BABIP, so that explains why Rodriguez has a low BABIP of .233. He's not as much of a regression candidate as you would think, because as his BABIP goes up, you have to figure his 1.62 HR/9 will dip. His career HR/9 is 1.03.
Clint Barmes, SSCold5/15/2013 1:21:00 PM
Description: Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes is 1-for-17 versus Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo.
Insight: Barmes (.231) homered off Matt Harvey last Sunday, but other than that has done little to draw attention to his play this season. Fantasy owners still dream of the days when he was in Colorado and smacked 23 home runs in 2009, but that player is long gone.
Pedro Alvarez, 3BCold5/15/2013 1:19:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is hitless in 15 at-bats versus Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo with eight strikeouts.
Insight: Alvarez is struggling, batting .190 with six homers and 18 RBI. Avoid this matchup.
Gerrit Cole, SP5/14/2013 10:10:00 PM
Description: Pirates pitching prospect Gerrit Cole is 2-1 with a 2.23 ERA in 36 1/3 innings with Triple-A Indianapolis this season. However, he has a 26/19 K/BB.
Insight: Cole, the 2011 No. 1 overall pick, is not quite ready for the big leagues. If the Pirates thought he was ready, they would have called him up instead of allowing Jonathan Sanchez to get shelled over and over in April. However, he might be up later this year.
Russell Martin, C5/14/2013 3:38:00 PM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin is in the starting lineup for Tuesday's game against Milwaukee.
Insight: Martin's return may have been accelerated by the Brewers swiping six bases off backup catcher Michael McKenry. Martin has been an offensive force this season as well, batting .263 with six homers, 11 RBI and an .884 OPS.
Jason Grilli, RP5/14/2013 2:33:00 PM
Description: Pirates reliever Jason Grilli might not be available for Tuesday game, according to manager Clint Hurdle. He is reportedly attending to a personal matter.
Insight: Grilli has been a fantasy stud with a league-leading 15 saves in 15 chances. Mark Melancon would likely get the save opportunity if Grilli is unavailable to close.
Jose Tabata, RF5/14/2013 11:53:00 AM
Description: Pirates right fielder Jose Tabata is 10-for-21 with a 1.262 OPS versus Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse.
Insight: Tabata was heating up (7-for-11) before he sat on both Sunday and Monday only getting into the game as a pinch hitter. This matchup should convince the team to get him back in the starting lineup and if that happens he should be in fantasy lineups.
Neil Walker, 2B5/13/2013 2:00:00 PM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Wallker (finger) has been activated for Monday's game against Milwaukee, according to a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review report.
Insight: Walker hasn't done much with the bat this season, hitting just .253 with one home run, eight RBI and a .693 OPS in 23 games. Frankly, we were hoping to get a longer look at Jordy Mercer (.258, 3 HR, 4 RBI, .894 OPS in nine games).
Neil Walker, 2B5/13/2013 11:00:00 AM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Wallker (finger) is expected to be activated in time for Monday's game against Milwaukee, according to a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review report.
Insight: Walker hasn't done much with the bat this season, hitting just .253 with one home run, eight RBI and a .693 OPS in 23 games. Frankly, we were hoping to get a longer look at Jordy Mercer (.258, 3 HR, 4 RBI, .894 OPS in nine games).
Russell Martin, C5/13/2013 10:56:00 AM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin is questionable for Monday's game against Milwaukee due to neck soreness, but was available to pinch hit on Sunday if needed.
Insight: Martin dealt with the injury earlier this week and had a flareup Friday. Michael McKenry will continue to handle the catching duties while Martin is sidelined and he's produced a solid .831 OPS over the 14 games he's played this season.
Clint Barmes, SS5/13/2013 9:35:00 AM
Description: Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes is hitless in nine at-bats versus Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada.
Insight: Barmes (.219) homered off Matt Harvey on Sunday. He has two for the season. Fantasy owners still dream of the days when he was in Colorado and smacked 23 home runs in 2009. Unfortunately, the Barmes that played in Houston and now in Pittsburgh has averaged just .235 with 10 home runs per season over the past two years.
Garrett Jones, 1B5/13/2013 9:30:00 AM
Description: Pirates 1B/OF Garrett Jones is a career .158 hitter (3-for-19) versus Milwaukee right-hander Marco Estrada.
Insight: Jones is having a good week, batting .333 and two home runs over his last five games, but this is an unfavorable matchup.
Andrew McCutchen, CF5/13/2013 9:28:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is 7-for-19 (.368) with a pair of home runs against Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada.
Insight: Historically, May is McCutchen's most productive month of the season (career .322 batting average, .946 OPS) and he's started off well in May 2013 as well. This matchup should help those totals. Good or bad matchup, you aren't going to take McCutchen out of your lineup because he does so many things for your fantasy team.
Russell Martin, C5/12/2013 12:20:00 PM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin is not in the starting lineup again on Sunday due to neck soreness, but is available to pinch hit.
Insight: Martin dealt with the injury earlier this week and had a flareup Friday. Michael McKenry will continue to handle the catching duties while Martin is sidelined.
Russell Martin, C5/12/2013 9:25:00 AM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin was not in the starting lineup again on Saturday due to neck soreness. he has only played in one game since May 5.
Insight: Martin dealt with the injury earlier this week and had a flareup Friday. Michael McKenry will continue to handle the catching duties while Martin is sidelined.
Jose Tabata, RFHot5/11/2013 9:46:00 PM
Description: Pirates right fielder Jose Tabata went 4-for-5 Saturday in a victory over the Mets.
Insight: Tabata is heating up. Over his last five games, Tabata has gone 9-for-16 with three RBI. The combination of Tabata's hot streak and Travis Snider's 1-for-16 slump should earn Tabata more playing time in right field.
Jordy Mercer, SS5/11/2013 9:39:00 PM
Description: Pirates infielder Jordy Mercer slammed two home runs Saturday in a win over the Mets.
Insight: Mercer (.286, 3 HR, 4 RBI) has been getting most of the reps at second base with Neil Walker out of the lineup. Walker is slated to return Monday versus Milwaukee so Mercer's days of fantasy relevance could be coming to an end shortly.
Francisco Liriano, SP5/11/2013 8:29:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh lefthander Francisco Liriano pitched well in his return from the disabled list Saturday against New York (5 1/3 IP, 6 H, ER, 2 BB, 9 K's).
Insight: Not a bad season debut for the former Twin. His next start is scheduled for Thursday against Milwaukee.
Garrett Jones, 1B5/10/2013 10:20:00 PM
Description: Pirates 1B/OF Garrett Jones went 3-for-5 with two doubles, a homer and three RBI Friday against the Mets.
Insight: Jones is hitting .306 with five homers and 20 RBI in 98 at-bats against right-handers this season. He has just five at-bats all season against lefties.
Russell Martin, C5/10/2013 7:12:00 PM
Description: Pirates catcher Russell Martin is not in the starting lineup Friday against the Mets due to neck soreness. SOURCE: Rob Biertempfel, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Insight: Martin dealt with the injury earlier this week and had a flareup Friday.
Andrew McCutchen, CF5/10/2013 10:35:00 AM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen is just 2-for-14 (.143) against Mets starter Shaun Marcum.
Insight: Good or bad matchup, you aren't going to take McCutchen out of your lineup because he does so many things for your fantasy team. Just don't expect much on Friday.
Jeff Locke, RP5/9/2013 10:42:00 PM
Description: Pirates lefty Jeff Locke threw another quality start Thursday against the Mets, going six innings and allowing three hits and one run with a 3/3 K/BB.
Insight: Locke has only allowed 11 hits and four earned runs over his last 24 innings and has a 2.95 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP on the year. However, he has a 4.99 K/9, a 4.31 BB/9 and a .214 BABIP. NL-only owners can give him a shot, but mixed leaguers should stay away. Locke's FIP is 4.85.
Jeanmar Gomez, SP5/8/2013 8:55:00 PM
Description: Pirates right-hander Jeanmar Gomez will start Sunday's game at New York, manager Clint Hurdle said Wednesday.
Insight: Gomez threw five shutout innings on short notice Tuesday against the Mariners in place of injured starter James McDonald. He has started 40 games at the major league level but owns a career 4.91 ERA and a 1.49 WHIP. Fantasy owners can ignore him for now.
James McDonald, SP5/8/2013 8:54:00 PM
Description: Pirates right-hander James McDonald had an MRI on Wednesday morning that showed no structural damage, only inflammation, in his right shoulder, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Insight: McDonald was placed on the DL Tuesday with right shoulder discomfort. He hasn't been the same since going 9-3 with a 2.37 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP before the All-Star break last season. He went 3-5 with a 7.52 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP after the break and is 2-2 with a 5.76 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP in 2013.
Jonathan Sanchez, SPCold5/8/2013 7:48:00 PM
Description: The Pirates cut ties with lefthander Jonathan Sanchez on Wednesday.
Insight: Sanchez (0-3, 11.85 ERA in five appearances) was DFA'd last week and predictably, no one was interested. His career is in a downward spiral right now and we don't expect to see him on a big league roster again anytime soon.
A.J. Burnett, SPHot5/8/2013 6:44:00 PM
Description: Pirates righthander A.J. Burnett struck out nine Mariners over seven two-hit innings Wednesday afternoon, but took a loss.
Insight: Burnett walked four and allowed a homer and two runs to lose a 2-1 decision to Felix Hernandez. The right-hander has been fantastic this season, striking out 66 batters and allowing just 34 hits in 49 innings. He hasn't struck out more than a batter per inning since 2008.
Russell Martin, C5/8/2013 1:31:00 PM
Description: Hot-hitting Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin (.367 over the past two weeks) faces a tough matchup on Wednesday and is not in the starting lineup.
Insight: He's a career .176 hitter (3-for-17) against Seattle right-hander Felix Hernandez. Martin sat out Tuesday's game with a stiff neck. Michael McKenry started behind the plate on Tuesday.
Garrett Jones, 1B5/7/2013 10:03:00 PM
Description: Pirates 1B/OF Garrett Jones went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer Tuesday against Seattle.
Insight: Jones plays against right-handers as part of a platoon with Gaby Sanchez. He's hitting .284 with four homers against righties this season.
Andrew McCutchen, CF5/7/2013 9:59:00 PM
Description: Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen went 4-for-4 with a double, a run and a steal Tuesday against the Mariners.
Insight: McCutchen played a bit over his head with a .327 average last season, as he needed a .375 BABIP to accomplish that. He came into Tuesday's game with an identical line-drive percentage to last season but with a .258 BABIP and a .250 batting average. The good news is that he has trimmed his strikeout percentage from 19.6 percent to 12.6 percent and is hitting .276 after Tuesday's game.
Neil Walker, 2B5/7/2013 7:25:00 PM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Wallker (finger) is expected to begin a minor league rehab assignment Thursday with Double-A Altoona, according to Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: Pittsburgh placed Walker on the DL only a few days ago, but he hasn't played since suffering a right finger laceration on April 26. He's likely to rejoin the team at some point for its upcoming series at New York Thursday-Sunday.
James McDonald, SP5/7/2013 5:45:00 PM
Description: Pirates right-hander James McDonald has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder discomfort.
Insight: McDonald hasn't been the same since going 9-3 with a 2.37 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP before the All-Star break last season. He went 3-5 with a 7.52 ERA and a 1.79 WHIP after the break and is 2-2 with a 5.76 ERA and a 1.65 WHIP in 2013. His absence could help Jeff Locke remain in the rotation when Francisco Liriano and Jeff Karstens rejoin the team.
Russell Martin, C5/7/2013 5:42:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin is out of the lineup Tuesday due to neck stiffness, according to Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Insight: Michael McKenry will start behind the plate. Martin has trimmed his strikeouts and is batting .272 with six homers and a .905 OPS in 27 games.
Garrett Jones, 1B5/7/2013 10:04:00 AM
Description: Pirates 1B/OF Garrett Jones is 6-for-10 with a home run and a 1.767 OPS versus Seattle starter Aaron Harang.
Insight: Jones (.287, 3 HR, 15 RBI) was off to a solid start, but has gone cold over the past seven days. Perhaps this matchup will get his bat going again.
Starling Marte, CFHot5/4/2013 8:38:00 PM
Description: Pirates outfielder Starling Marte has homered in three of the last four games.
Insight: Marte has been one of the best players in fantasy baseball this season, hitting .328 with four homers, 14 RBI, 10 steals and 23 runs. With 30 strikeouts in 119 at-bats, the batting average will come down eventually, but his all-around production makes him extremely valuable.
Garrett Jones, 1B5/4/2013 10:55:00 AM
Description: Pirates 1B/OF Garrett Jones is hitless in six at-bats versus Washington right-hander Stephen Strasburg with five strikeouts.
Insight: Jones is off to a solid start, batting .293 with an .832 OPS, but this isn't the matchup to get him in your lineup. Avoid at all costs.
A.J. Burnett, SPHot5/3/2013 10:28:00 PM
Description: Pirates righthander A.J. Burnett improved to 3-2 with a win over the Nationals Friday night in Pittsburgh.
Insight: He's 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in his last four starts. He's fanned 30 batters over that span. Burnett will make his next start Thursday against the Mets.
Neil Walker, 2B5/3/2013 4:56:00 PM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Wallker (finger) has been placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to April 27.
Insight: The Pirates simply couldn't wait any longer for Walker to return to the lineup. Walker needed six stitches to patch up a right index finger laceration that he sustained when sliding into second base on April 26, and he didn't make enough progress this week.
Jose Tabata, RF5/1/2013 7:03:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh right fielder Jose Tabata tweaked his hamstring Wednesday versus the Brewers and had to come out of the game. SOURCE: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Insight: He'll go for an MRI on Thursday. Travis Snider will play right field while Tabata recovers.
Neil Walker, 2B4/29/2013 4:52:00 PM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Wallker (finger) will not have his stitches removed by Friday, but manager Clint Hurdle said Walked can play with them.
Insight: Walker was injured during a slide into second base Friday night, but he could return before Pittsburgh's road trip ends Wednesday.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B4/29/2013 1:48:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is hitless in 12 at-bats versus Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo with seven strikeouts.
Insight: Alvarez is struggling, batting .198 with four homers and 11 RBI. Avoid this matchup.
Russell Martin, CHot4/28/2013 8:36:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin blasted a pair of homers and had a double and three RBIs Sunday against St. Louis.
Insight: Martin has three homers over the last two games and is batting .409 with five bombs and eight RBIs over his last 12 games.
Garrett Jones, 1BHot4/28/2013 8:33:00 PM
Description: Pirates 1B/OF Garrett Jones doubled, homered, walked and scored two runs while going 3-for-4 Sunday against the Cardinals.
Insight: Jones has only two plate appearances against lefties this year (0-2) and is 22-for-66 (.333) with two homers and 13 RBIs against right-handers.
Jeff Locke, RP4/28/2013 8:31:00 PM
Description: Pirates lefty Jeff Locke didn't allow a run in seven innings Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Insight: Locke has gone 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA and a 0.64 WHIP in his last two starts. He'll need to keep it up if he wants to hold onto his rotation spot when Jeff Karstens returns next month.
Travis Snider, LF4/28/2013 10:42:00 AM
Description: Pirates outfielder Travis Snider is dealing with tightness in his right side and is questionable for Sunday's game against St. Louis.
Insight: Snider, a former first-round draft pick, has had numerous chances to produce at the big league level but he's never been able to succeed. This season he's batting a solid .305 through the first 22 games, but without a home run and just five RBI. He does have seven doubles in 59 at-bats, but that's rarely a fantasy category.
Jonathan Sanchez, SP4/27/2013 5:04:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh southpaw Jonathan Sanchez is facing a six-game ban for beaning Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig Friday night in St. Louis. SOURCE: Michael Sanserino, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Insight: As Friday's disastrous outing demonstrated (he didn't record an out before his ejection), Sanchez (0-3, 12.71 ERA) is in free-fall mode right now. Keep him far, far away from your fantasy team.
Pedro Alvarez, 3BHot4/27/2013 10:16:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is off to a slow start (.181), but he has been very successful in the past against Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook.
Insight: Alvarez is a career 11-for-19 with a pair of homers and a 1.600 OPS against the Cardinals right-hander. He has hit three home runs in the last seven games and raised his batting average 77 points over that span. He is a must start on Saturday in this highly-favorable matchup.
Neil Walker, 2B4/27/2013 9:35:00 AM
Description: Pirates second baseman Neil Wallker needed six stitches to close a cut on his right index finger and is expected to miss a few games.
Insight: Walker was injured during a slide into second base. Veteran Brandon Inge could get a few starts.
Andrew McCutchen, CF4/26/2013 1:15:00 PM
Description: Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen is just a career .214 hitter (3-for-14) with a .500 OPS against Cardinals starter Lance Lynn.
Insight: McCutchen is batting just .235 this season, but is still a contributor to all fantasy categories and fantasy owners aren't going to sideline him for a bad matchup. He's scored 15 runs, hit a pair of homers, knocked in 12 runs and has a league-leading six stolen bases in the first 22 games.
Gaby Sanchez, 1B4/25/2013 4:47:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh first baseman Gaby Sanchez went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs Thursday afternoon against the Phillies.
Insight: Sanchez is 10-for-36 (.278) with three homers and 11 RBIs as part of a first-base platoon with Garrett Jones. Jones is hitting .298 with 11 RBIs and has taken just two at-bats against left-handed pitchers this season.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B4/24/2013 10:12:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is 8-for-23 (.348) with four homers and seven RBIs over his last six games.
Insight: Alvarez is one of the streakiest hitters in all of baseball. He started off with three hits in his first 41 at-bats (.073).
Francisco Liriano, SP4/24/2013 9:17:00 PM
Description: Pirates lefty Francisco Lirinao (arm) is scheduled to throw 80 pitches Thursday, 90 pitches Tuesday and 100 pitches on May 5 for Triple-A Indianapolis, which puts him on track to join the major league rotation on May 10 against the Mets. SOURCE: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Insight: Liriano is coming back from a fracture to his non-pitching arm. His stuff is intriguing but he has traditionally been below average with men on base, posting a 69.8 percent strand rate in his career. That's not a good rate when you post a BB/9 north of 5.00 like he has in each of the last two seasons.
Wandy Rodriguez, SPHot4/24/2013 11:35:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh left-hander Wandy Rodriguez was masterful in his last outing, surrendering just one hit over seven innings.
Insight: His strikeout-to-walk ratio is off the charts right now (11-to-1) and he faces a Philadelphia Phillies team which is scuffling for runs. Rodriguez is owned in less than 65-percent of all Yahoo leagues and could be an excellent waiver claim.
Andrew McCutchen, CF4/24/2013 10:43:00 AM
Description: Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen is just a career .100 hitter (1-for-10) versus Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay with four strikeouts.
Insight: McCutchen is batting just .243 this season, but is still a contributor to all fantasy categories and fantasy owners aren't going to sideline him for a bad matchup. He's scored 14 runs, hit a pair of homers, knocked in 12 runs and has stolen six bases in the first 20 games.
Gaby Sanchez, 1B4/23/2013 10:28:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh first baseman Gaby Sanchez has homered in each of his last two starts.
Insight: Sanchez made the NL All-Star team in 2011 but he hit just .202 with the Marlins last season before being dealt with Pittsburgh, where he batted .241 in 116 at-bats. He's hitting .258 with two homers, eight RBIs and a 7/6 K/BB in 31 at-bats.
Jeff Locke, RP4/23/2013 10:25:00 PM
Description: Pirates lefty Jeff Locke shut down the Phillies Tuesday in a 2-0 victory. He threw six innings, walked two, struck out six and allowed just two hits.
Insight: Locke is 2-1 with a 3.74 ERA, but he has a 1.43 WHIP. He's likely the second man out of the rotation after Jonathan Sanchez once injured starters Francisco Liriano and Jeff Karstens return over the next couple of weeks.
James McDonald, SP4/20/2013 10:27:00 PM
Description: Pirates right-hander James McDonald improved to 2-2 with a six-inning, two-hit effort Saturday against the Atlanta Braves. McDonald gave up one run, walked four and struck out nine.
Insight: McDonald was battered his last time out, giving up eight hits and eight runs in 1 2/3 inning, but just three of the runs were earned so his ERA didn't take a major hit. After Saturday, the righty has a 4.12 ERA, but his high walk total (12 in 19 2/3 innings) is a concern.
Clint Barmes, SS4/20/2013 12:05:00 PM
Description: Slumping Pirates shortstop Clint Barmes is due for a big fantasy day and it could come in his matchup against Braves starter Paul Masholm. He's a career .441 hitter with a pair of homers and a 1.265 OPS in their matchup.
Insight: Barmes (.100 batting average in 14 games) is hitless in his last three games, but this matchup might get him going.
Wandy Rodriguez, SPHot4/19/2013 10:26:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh lefty Wandy Rodriguez was dominant Friday against the Braves.
Insight: He surrendered just one hit over seven shutout innings. Rodriguez has given up just five hits and one earned run in his first three starts. His strikeout to walk ratio is off the charts right now (11 to 1).
Russell Martin, C4/19/2013 10:59:00 AM
Description: Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin is a career .071 hitter (1-for-14) with six strikeouts against Braves starter Tim Hudson.
Insight: Martin is off to an ugly start, batting .143, but he did have two hits, including a homer, in the series opener with Atlanta.
Pedro Alvarez, 3BCold4/18/2013 10:45:00 PM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez hit his first homer of the season Thursday against the Atlanta Braves.
Insight: Alvarez is as cold as you can get right now. He is 5-for-48 (.104) with 17 strikeouts this season. The home run Thursday was his first extra-base hit.
Russell Martin, C4/18/2013 10:44:00 PM
Description: Pittsburgh catcher Russell Martin's bat came to life Thursday against the Braves as he went 2-for-3 with a solo homer.
Insight: Martin was 4-for-39 coming into Thursday's game, but he has only struck out five times in 42 at-bats.
Francisco Liriano, SP4/18/2013 9:25:00 PM
Description: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle indicated that left-hander Francisco Liriano (arm) could need three more rehab starts, which would put him in line to return to the big leagues in the first week of May. SOURCE: Bill Brink, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Insight: Liriano is coming back from a fracture to his non-pitching arm. He had both an ERA and a BB/9 north of 5.00 in each of the past two seasons. He has traditionally been below average with men on base, posting a 69.8 percent strand rate in his career, but there's no denying his stuff is intriguing.
A.J. Burnett, SP4/17/2013 9:54:00 PM
Description: Pirates starter A.J. Burnett fired seven innings of one-hit ball Wednesday in a 5-0 win over St. Louis.
Insight: Burnett had a no-hitter through 6 2/3 innings before giving up a double to Carlos Beltran. He struck out eight and didn't walk a batter to win his first game of the year. Burnett has a 35/8 K/BB in 24 innings this season.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP4/17/2013 5:12:00 PM
Description: Pirates lefty Wandy Rodriguez (left hamstring strain) has been cleared to start Friday against the Braves. SOURCE: Michael Sanserino, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Insight: Rodriguez hasn't pitched since suffering a left hamstring strain on April 8, but he got through a bullpen session Wednesday and is ready to go.
Wandy Rodriguez, SP4/16/2013 9:27:00 PM
Description: Pirates lefty Wandy Rodriguez (left hamstring strain) will need to get through a bullpen session Wednesday before he's cleared to start Friday against Atlanta. SOURCE: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
Insight: Rodriguez hasn't pitched since suffering a left hamstring strain on April 8.
Pedro Alvarez, 3B4/16/2013 10:39:00 AM
Description: Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez is off to as bad a start as you can imagine, with just three hits in 41 at-bats (.073), but he has been very successful in the past against Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook.
Insight: Alvarez is a career 11-for-19 with a pair of homers and a 1.600 OPS against the Cardinals right-hander. It's a lukewarm recommendation considering how out of sync he's swinging, but if you need a one-day option at the hot corner he could be your guy.

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