-- Zach Duke gets the unenviable task of taking on Roy Halladay tomorrow night. Halladay is 6-1 with a 1.59 ERA.
-- Delwyn Young will become the Pirates third starting second baseman in three games as he gets the nod tonight. As an added bonus, he'll bat leadoff.
-- Jimmy Rollins, Phil SS who has been out for 29 games with a strained calf, was given the OK to play tonight. Let's hope it takes him a couple of days to get his mojo back.
-- So far in May, Pittsburgh pitchers have put together a 4.02 ERA. The starters numbers are 5-6 with a 4.23 ERA while the pen is 1-2 with a 3.69 ERA. The ERA for the season is still just 5.64, but it's dropped half a run since April. Maybe Joe Kerrigan will keep his job.
-- We weren't the only ones to notice it. Roto Authority's Tim Dierkes checked out who's added and who's lost velocity this year - and Zach Duke and Paul Maholm are in the Top Ten of the losers.
-- Indy's Daniel McCutchen has been placed on the minor league DL with arm fatigue.
-- Altoona Curve pitcher Jared Hughes, 24, has been named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week. He made two starts last week and compiled a 2-0 record. Hughes went a season-high seven innings in both starts and permitted a total of three runs (one earned) in his 14 innings of work to compile an 0.64 ERA for the week. The righty from Long Beach State also struck out six and walked just a pair over the same time frame.
He has a 7-1 record with a 3.16 ERA through eight games (seven starts) in 2010 and currently leads all of Minor League Baseball with his seven wins.
-- Prospect Starling Marte will have surgery tomorrow to repair a hamate bone injury in his left hand suffered after getting conked by a pitch a week or two ago. The hook of his hamate bone will be removed, ala Pedro Alvarez. He's expected to be out 8-10 weeks, so he should be back sometime in August.
-- Ah, the minor league domino game. Bryan Morris was sent to Altoona yesterday. Righty Hunter Strickland, 21, will replace him at Bradenton. At West Virginia this year, he went 0-4 with a 5.86 ERA, and compiled eight walks and 15 strikeouts in 43 innings.
Hey, quiet down, we didn't promote him; maybe control pitchers are the flavor of the week. The ERA doesn't bother us, but 15 Ks in 43 innings? That's a red flag. We'll find out soon enough if he's a warm body or if the brass see something they like in him.
Taking Strickland’s place at West Virginia is righty Victor Black, who had been on State College’s roster. Black was a sandwich pick (#49) in the 2009 draft. He'll turn 22 in a week.
Not to worry. The Spikes still have high school aces Zack Von Rosenberg and Brooks Pounders, taken in last year's draft, to anchor their rotation.