The Pirates will face the D-Back's Dan Haren, Brandon Webb, and the Big Unit, who have combined for 35 wins this season. The entire Pirates rotation has notched 26 wins.
> Ian Snell lasted four innings for the eighth time in 22 starts this season. That happened just once in 32 starts last season.
Yesterday, he complained of back stiffness after throwing a curve ball in the second inning to add to his woes. It's not expected to cost him a start.
We think he's fortunate that even with all the dealing, the Bucs are still short of starters, because his performance is begging for a visit to the bullpen for an overhaul.
> A couple of Buc hurlers are gonna rack up some serious innings this year. Paul Maholm, who's worked 176 and 177-2/3 innings during the past two years, has 146 IP in 2008, projecting out to 207 innings, a career high. He's becoming a dependable, inning-eating workhorse for the team.
Zach Duke, who pitched 215 innings in 2006 and only 107 in an injury-plagued 2007 campaign, has put up 126-1/3 IP in 2008, already over last year's total and on track for 184 innings overall. They may want to monitor his arm as the season winds down.
> Freddie Sanchez is expected to return to the starting lineup tonight against the D-backs. He pinch hit yesterday.
> Adam LaRoche took a significant step forward on Sunday when he tested his back by running before batting practice.
Early last week, there was concern that LaRoche could be out beyond the 15-day DL period. But his recovery process is progressing quicker than expected, and LaRoche is on target to return to the field on Aug. 12, the first day that he is eligible to come off the DL.
> Matt Capps threw a simulated game in Bradenton and is scheduled to pitch in a GCL game Tuesday. If that works out, he should be on his way to Indy or Altoona for three or four rehab outings. It sounds all good for Capps so far.
> Oh, Xavier Nady homered and drove in a career-high six runs as NY beat the Angels. He got a curtain call from the Yankee Stadium faithful for his efforts.
"This is a great city to play in," Nady said. "There's nowhere else I'd rather play." We'd guess the X-Man got over being traded fairly quickly.
Damaso Marte isn't off to such a great start. He's pitched 3-1/3 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits, walking 1 and K'ing 6 with an ERA of 5.40.
> Jay Bay is getting all down east in a hurry. Bay went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, finishing his first weekend with Boston going 4-for-11 with a homer, three RBIs and six runs scored. He also picked up an outfield assist Sunday, throwing out a runner at second.
We know it had to be done, but we'll miss those guys.
On the minor league front: Indy breezed to an 8-4 victory. Ross Ohlendorf (2-2, 4.25 ERA) picked up his first Tribe win, going 7-2/3 innings, giving up 3 runs on six hits with 9 K's and a walk while throwing 95 pitches. He did surrender a pair of homers.
LF Nyjer Morgan (.280) had 4 hits, including a double, with 3 runs scored and three more driven in to go with a stolen base. CF Andrew McCutchen (.280) added three hits, scored three times, doubled and stole a base. 1B Jason Delaney (.300) had two hits, two RBI, and a run scored.
Morgan has stolen 34 bases, McCutchen 28. Morgan still has trouble taking pitches, though, drawing only 13 walks. Cutch has 55.
> Altoona went down hard, 10-2. LF Jonel Pacheco (.287) went 3-3 with a walk. 2B Shelby Ford (.273) had two hits, including a double, and RF Brad Corley (.278) had two knocks, including a triple. LHP Josh Shortslef (3.06 ERA) pitched 4-1/3 innings in relief, giving up a run on 5 hits with a walk and 3 strikeouts.
LHP David Davidson, 24, a Curve middle reliever, is on Canada's Olympic team. In a three game exhibition against the US this weekend, he worked all three games and went 3-2/3 innings without giving up an earned run and notched a save.
> Lynchburg lost another to Myrtle Beach, 5-2. LF Jared Keel (.217) hit his 13th home run. RHP Brad Lincoln (5.57 ERA) started, and went 6 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits, striking out 3 and walking 2. He didn't figure in the decision.
> Hickory lost to Rome 5-3 despite banging out 13 hits. LF Joe Munoz (.278) went 3-4 with a double and RBI, and 1B Erik Huber (.273) had three more hits, with a double and run scored. 2B Greg Picart (.267) and SS Jordy Mercer (.211) each had a pair of knocks.
> State College got spanked 9-1 today. 3B Jeremy Farrell (.292) had a pair of singles. The Spikes are now 9-34 and not exactly a shining endorsement of this year's draft class.
> The GCL Bucs lost 3-2 to the Twins, wasting 4 shutout innings by LHP Tyler Cox (1-2, 2.30 ERA), who gave up two hits while striking out 4 and walking 2. CF Edward Garcia (.190) had two hits, including a triple, and scored once, drove in a run, and walked.