-- James McDonald and Roy "Doc" Halladay take the hill this afternoon at 1:35 PM. The game will be televised by Root Sports.
-- Today's lineup: Xavier Paul LF, Josh Harrison 3B, Andrew McCutchen CF, Neil Walker 2B, Lyle Overbay 1B, Garrett Jones RF, Brandon Wood SS, Dusty Brown C, James McDonald P.
JT, Ronny Cedeno and Chris Snyder get days off, so Harrison and Wood will man the left side (Pedro Ciriaco is the odd man out) and Brown will squat behind the dish. Guess Clint Hurdle is hoping the element of surprise will sidetrack Phillies' ace Doc Halladay.
-- Good news from the Pedro front: El Toro is playing defense in Florida after a stint at DH, and if he holds up, he could start his minor league rehab stint early next week. Still no timeline on the injured pitchers working in Pirate City - Ross Ohlendorf, Mike Crotta and Kevin Hart, write Jen Langosch & Laura Myers of MLB.com.
-- Ronny Cedeno got an off day today and Neil Walker will get one Tuesday. Cedeno has played in 55 games, Walker in 56 of the Pirates 57 contests so far this season. With a scheduled off day Monday, each guy will get a two-day blow. Other Bucs never out of the lineup are McCutch and Lyle Overbay, each with 55 games played. JT is off today, too; he's played in 51 outings.
-- First round draft pick notes: The current FO have taken Pedro Alvarez, Tony Sanchez and Jameson Taillon as their top picks since 2008. Other home-grown first-rounders in Pittsburgh are McCutch, Neil Walker, Paul Maholm and Danny Moskos with Brad Lincoln in the wings. Brandon Wood is the only first-rounder on the roster selected by another team (Angels).
-- Ace prospect OF Alex Presley was pulled from yesterday's Indy game after being hit with a pitch in the right arm, reports MLB.com's Jen Langosch. He'll be evaluated today.
-- In an encouraging sign, Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette tweets that Donnie Veal has been reassigned to AA Altoona from High A Bradenton. Jen Langosch adds that while he'll start out of the pen, the Bucs have yet to decide on whether he'll join the rotation after stretching out or not.
-- Andy LaRoche was DFA'ed by the A's today, according to MLB Trade Rumor's Luke Adams. He had a line of .247/0/5 in Oakland in 93 at-bats as an utility infielder.