Hurdle Changes His Mind, Plus News on Taillon

During his pre-game gathering with the media, manager Clint Hurdle dropped a few pieces of interesting information regarding the current roster.

First thing, Hurdle says that Jameson Taillon will return to the starting rotation next week. At this point, no public decision was announced as to who Taillon will replace in the starting five. Barring either Ivan Nova or Gerrit Cole going to the disabled list, the decision will come down to either Tyler Glasnow or Chad Kuhl.

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The Pirates Need to Give Elias Diaz His Chance

It may have taken nine years to happen, and it may be very temporary, but for the time being, Elias Diaz is the starting catcher for the Pirates.

With Chris Stewart recovering from a hamstring injury and Francisco Cervelli being placed on the seven day concussion disabled list Wednesday, Diaz is finally getting an honest look in the majors. The circumstances could obviously be better, but it’s the opportunity he’s wanted and deserves.

“In my minor league career, I’ve been an everyday catcher, so here in the big leagues, that’s what I want to do,” Diaz said Thursday. “It’s no different to me.”

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Perrotto: Time Has Arrived to Try Rivero as Closer

Tony Watson undoubtedly played a significant — if, at times, unheralded — role in the Pirates making three consecutive postseason appearances from 2013-15 while ending their record string of 20 consecutive losing seasons

Serving as a set-up man to Jason Grilli, then Mark Melancon, Watson had a spectacular three-year run than included a 1.97 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 222 games and 224 1/3 innings.

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Chad Kuhl’s Options Against Lefties

Lost in the middle of a 14 inning, rain delay loss Wednesday was a solid start by Chad Kuhl. He was lifted after five frames because the Pirates needed a pinch-hitter, but with only two runs and three hits on his ledger, it was an encouraging sight in what has been a trying season.

Kuhl has a 6.02 ERA over his first 11 outings, averaging just 4.5 innings a start. He’s been fine against righties, holding them to a .694 OPS, but he has struggled with lefties. Entering play Wednesday, they had a .337/.406/.660 slash line against him. The Mets took advantage of that massive split this past Friday, stacking the lineup with eight lefties. He was chased in the fifth after five runs and eight hits. Other teams will likely follow suit.

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Perrotto: McCutchen’s Bat Showing Signs Of Life

Andrew McCutchen can give great answers with nothing more than a facial expression.

That was the case Sunday night when I asked the Pirates center fielder the question that has been on everyone’s mind for the first two months of the season.

Are you finished?

McCutchen pulled his head back, rolled his eyes and then broke into a big smile. He then gave the slightest of chuckles and walked away to begin preparing for a game the Pirates lost 7-2 to the New York Mets at PNC Park.

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Taillon to Make Rehab Start Tomorrow

Finally, the Pirates have received some good news.

Doctors have determined that Jameson Taillon is healthy enough to get back on the mound.

The team announced this evening Taillon will make a rehab start tomorrow for the Altoona Curve at Erie.

Earlier this month, Taillon underwent surgery for testicular cancer. If all goes well, the right-hander could rejoin the team sometime in June.

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Perrotto: Frazier Becoming the Pirates’ Hit Man

Things have changed dramatically for Adam Frazier in two weeks.

The Pittsburgh Pirates infielder/outfielder has gone from a being a super utility player to the regular left fielder and leadoff hitter. The 25-year-old has made such an impact during the Pirates’ stretch of eight wins in their last 12 games that he is drawing high praise from teammate David Freese.

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Upcoming Decisons for Hurdle

Don’t look now but the Pirates are stringing together wins and showing shines of turning around the 2017 season.

Following today’s 9-4 win over Atlanta, the Pirates have now won 8 of their last 12 games.

They’ll have a chance to keep up the winning baseball because starting tomorrow night against the New York Mets, 16 of their next 21 games will be played at PNC Park.

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