MLB Insiders: Pittsburgh Pirates

Any time Andrew McCutchen feels a twinge, it sends shockwaves through the Pirates organization. The 23-year-old center fielder is the face of the franchise and the key figure in the team's massive rebuilding phase.

Thus, the Pirates were relieved that McCutchen went through a series of pregame drills Tuesday night without feeling any significant pain in his mildly sprained right ankle. Though McCutchen sat out the 3-2 victory over the visiting Cubs, he is expected back in the lineup Wednesday night for the second game of the three-game series.

"Everything went well," McCutchen said. "I just told them it's a tad tender. It's minuscule, but I can feel it. They just want to make sure I don't make it any worse, and I don't want that to happen either."

McCutchen was injured in the third inning of Sunday's loss at Los Angeles when he stepped on the foot of Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who was covering first base on a groundout. McCutchen left the game in the sixth. The Pirates were clearly happy that McCutchen did not suffer any significant damage to the ankle.

"Watching him run, he was moving fairly well," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We want to be conservative and give it time to heal with running being such a big part of his game. We don't want this to linger a long time."

McCutchen is hitting .288 with four home runs, eight RBIs and 10 stolen bases in 25 games.

PIRATES 3, CUBS 2: Ryan Church, in center field in place of McCutchen, hit a two-run home run in the sixth inning to put the Pirates ahead and help snap their three-game losing streak. Andy LaRoche also homered for the Pirates. Paul Maholm (2-2) allowed two runs in six innings for the win, and Octavio Dotel worked a scoreless ninth for his fourth save in six opportunities.

NOTES, QUOTES

--RHP Brendan Donnelly was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a strained oblique muscle in his left side. The move is retroactive to April 28. The Pirates are optimistic he will be ready to return either on or close to May 13, the first day he is eligible to be activated. Donnelly is 2-0 with a 7.00 ERA in 11 relief appearances.

--1B Steve Pearce was recalled from Class AAA Indianapolis to take RHP Brendan Donnelly's spot on the roster. The addition of Pearce also returns the Pirates to a five-man bench after they had been carrying 13 pitchers for the past week rather than the customary 12. He was hitting .349 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 23 games at Indianapolis.

--RHP Octavio Dotel was back in uniform Tuesday night. The closer missed Sunday's game at Los Angeles in order to fly home to be with his wife, who gave birth Monday to a son. He earned a save in the series opener against the Cubs.

--LHP Brian Burres has been tabbed by manager John Russell to start Thursday night's game against the Cubs after the Pirates had been listing the probable pitcher for that game as "undecided." Burres is 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA in four games, two starts, this season but pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings to beat the Dodgers last Thursday.

--OF John Raynor, a Rule 5 draft pick who was designated for assignment by Pittsburgh on April 27, cleared waivers and was returned to Florida. The Marlins had the option of taking him back for $25,000 as part of the Rule 5 process. Raynor went 2-for-10 in 11 games with the Pirates.

--RHP Chris Jakubauskas (concussion) is now able to ride an exercise bicycle but has yet to be cleared to participate in baseball activities. He was injured April 24 when he was struck in the head by a line drive hit by Houston's Lance Berkman.

BY THE NUMBERS: 11 -- Times the Pirates had lost by a margin of at least six runs in their first 25 games. Included in that stretch were 20-0 and 17-3 losses to Milwaukee.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I need to take smaller bites." -- RF Garrett Jones, after undergoing a surgical procedure May 1 to remove a blockage in his esophagus that was caused by a piece of roast beef.

ROSTER REPORT
MEDICAL WATCH:

--CF Andrew McCutchen (sprained right ankle) was hurt May 2, and he didn't play May 4. He is day-to-day.

--RHP Brendan Donnelly (strained left side muscle) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 28.

--RHP Chris Jakubauskas (concussion, head bruise) went on the 15-day disabled list April 25. He had yet to resume baseball activities as of May 4.

--RHP Ross Ohlendorf (lower back spasms) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to April 12. He pitched an extended spring training game April 30 and is expected to make a rehab start with Class AA Altoona on May 5 before being activated.

--RHP Jose Ascanio (arthroscopic right shoulder surgery in October 2009) went on the 60-day disabled list retroactive to March 26. He is expected to be out until at least June.

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