April 8, 2007

Pre-Game Notes

PITTSBURGH PIRATES (3-2) vs. CINCINNATI REDS (4-1)
APRIL 8, 2007 AT GREAT AMERICAN BALL PARK --- GAME #6, ROAD #6
LHP ZACH DUKE (0-0, 2.57 ERA) vs. LHP ERIC MILTON (8-8, 5.19 ERA in 2006)

FREDDY RETURNS:
Today the Pirates reinstated infielder Freddy Sanchez from the 15-day disabled list (right knee sprain) and optioned catcher Ryan Doumit to Triple-A Indianapolis...Sanchez injured his knee while turning a doubleplay at second base against the Phillies in Bradenton, FL, on March 6...He played one rehab game with Indianapolis and went 1-for-2 with a double and two walks.

TODAYS STARTER:
ZACH DUKE:
The 23-year-old lefthander (turns 24 on April 19) is making his second start of the 2007 season this afternoon.
LAST START:
Zach was the Opening Day starter and received a no-decision in Pittsburgh’s 4-2, 10-inning victory in Houston Monday night...He tossed 4.0 scoreless frames before surrendering a two-run homer to Luke Scott in the 5th inning...The Pirates scored once in the 9th to tie the game and twice in the 10th for the win.
IN SPRING TRAINING:
Duke went 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA in six Grapefruit League starts...He also threw 81 pitches while pitching in a minor league game against Baltimore’s Triple-A affiliate on 3/23 (6.0ip/6h/2r/2er/0bb/3so).
BREAKING ON TO THE SCENE:
In his rookie season of 2005, Zach went 8-2 with a 1.81 ERA in 14 starts...He posted a 0.92 ERA after his first six starts; just one of four pitchers to record an ERA below 1.00 since 1920 (also Fernando Valenzuela with Dodgers in 1981, Boo Ferris with Braves in 1945 and Steve Rogers with Expos in 1973).
LOOKING TO END THE SKID:
Duke lost each of his last 10 decisions on the road last year...He won his lone road decision on 5/2 at Chicago.
AT THE PLATE:
Zach singled off Roy Oswalt in his first at bat of the season...He hit .191 (13-for-68) last year and led Bucco pitchers with seven RBI.

DUKE vs. CINCINNATI:
2006:
0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in one start...He gave up 12 hits and lost a 5-2 decision to Aaron Harang (CG) at PNC Park on 9/29 (6.2ip/4r/4er).
CAREER:
0-2 with a 4.22 ERA in two starts...In addition to last season, he lost an 8-2 decision to Brandon Claussen in game one of a doubleheader on 9/16/05 @PNC Park (4.0ip/1er); he left after 4.0 innings reaching a 75 pitch limit.

TOMORROW'S STARTER:
IAN SNELL:
The 25-year-old righthander will be making his second start of the season when he takes the mound in the Home Opener against the Cardinals tomorrow afternoon...He received a no-decision in his first start while striking out a career-high 11 batters in Pittsburgh’s 3-2 victory in Houston Tuesday night (6.0ip/4h/2r/2er/1bb/11so)...Went 3-0 with a 3.00 ERA (21.0ip/7er) in six Grapefruit League outings (four starts), leading the club in wins and strikeouts (24)...Spent first full season in the majors with Pittsburgh in 2006 and went 14-11 in 32 starts...Led club in victories and strikeouts (169).

TEAM NOTES:
The Pittsburgh relief pitchers have been charged with just two earned runs in 17.0 innings of work in the first five games of the season (1.06 ERA)...Salomon Torres has gone 3-for-3 in save situations and the staff has yet to allow an inherited runner to score.
The entire Pirates team will wear uniform #42 during Major League Baseball’s Jackie Robinson celebration on Sunday, April 15...Baseball’s national celebration of the 60th anniversary of Robinson’s major league debut will take place at Dodger Stadium on April 15 prior to the game between the Dodgers and Padres.
With 497 career victories, Jim Tracy is just three wins shy of 500 in his managergial career...He will become the 12th active manager with 500 career wins.

ON THE D.L.:
Pitcher John Grabow (left elbow irritation - eligible on 4/7) is on the 15-day disabled list.

UPCOMING PITCHING MATCHUPS:
Monday vs. St. Louis 1:35 RHP Braden Looper (0-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. RHP Ian Snell (0-0, 3.00 ERA) FSNP
Tuesday vs. St. Louis 7:05 RHP Chris Carpenter (0-1, 7.50 ERA) vs. LHP Tom Gorzelanny (1-0, 3.60 ERA) FSNP
Wednesday vs. St. Louis 12:35 RHP Adam Wainwright (1-0, 1.29 ERA) vs. LHP Paul Maholm (0-1, 7.20 ERA) NO TV
Thursday in Pittsburgh OFF DAY

Through The Dugout:
Jose Bautista - Has started each of the first five games at third base.

Jason Bay - Has started all five games in left field...Has hit safely in four of the first five games.

Jose Castillo - Started each of the first four games at second base...Picked up lone hit Tuesday night in Houston.Humberto Cota - Has yet to see any action on the field this season.

Ryan Doumit - Sent to Indy.

Chris Duffy - Has hit safely in each of the first five games while leading off each contest.Brad Eldred - Made his first career appearance on Pittsburgh’s Opening Day roster...Has not yet played a game in 2007.

Brad Eldred - Made his first career appearance on Pittsburgh’s Opening Day roster...Has not yet played a game in 2007.

Don Kelly - Made first major league start Saturday at second base - went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored.Adam LaRoche - Snapped an 0-for-8 start to the season with a single in second plate appearance Wednesday night in Houston.

Adam LaRoche - Hit a solo home run and had RBI-double in 7-5 loss to the Reds on Saturday.

Nate McLouth - Played final four innings of Saturday’s game in right field.

Xavier Nady - Has started each of the first five games in right field...Hit safely in four of the first five contests.

Ronny Paulino - Has hit safely in the last three games and has picked an RBI in each contest.

Freddy Sanchez - Was reinstated from the D.L. today - began season on disabled list with right knee strain.

Jack Wilson - Has started the first five games at shortstop...Hit safely in first four contests (three multi-hit games).

Through The Pen:
Jonah Bayless - Retired two of the three batters he faced in Cincinnati Saturday afternoon (walked the other).Matt Capps - Retired all nine of the Houston batters he faced while appearing in each of the first three games of the season.

Matt Capps - Retired all nine of the Houston batters he faced while appearing in each of the first three games of the season.

Shawn Chacon - Struck out four batters while tossing 2.0 innings (1 run) in Cincinnati Saturday afternoon.

Damaso Marte - Pitched a scoreless inning Saturday afternoon in Cincinnati.

Juan Perez - Retired the one batter he faced Saturday...Tossed 1.1 innings Friday night, allowing one hit and one unearned run.

Salomon Torres - Posted saves in each of the first three games - second major leaguer ever to do so since 1969 (also Derrick Turnbow last year).

John Wasdin - Retired final two batters he faced Friday night after allowing lead-off triple to Jeff Conine in 6th inning (0.2ip/0r).
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