With two Major League starts behind Hurdle says he is "a little more comfortable" with Cumpton "taking the mound"

Joe Robbins

Notes from this afternoon's press scrum with Pirates manager Clint Hurdle:

UPDATE (6:58 p.m.) The Pirates just announced that Jeff Locke will start Wednesday and Gerrit Cole Thursday. Jeanmar Gomez will be in the bullpen tonight. (This news may mean that A.J.'s simulated game went well and will be ready to go. That is purely speculation on my part, however.)

* A.J. Burnett threw a simulated game this afternoon. Clint Barmes, Gaby Sanchez and Travis Snider participated in the simulation, taking some at bats and working on defensive drills. A.J. threw 15 pitches to start, then threw "back to back innings," with a total of between 40 and 50 pitches being thrown. Hurdle said that the next stop is to have a conversation with Burnett and "see how he felt today and how he feels tomorrow, then brainstorm from there."

* The rotation for the rest of the week as not been set, but we expect to hear something before the start of the game. Hurdle said that Jeff Locke and Jeanmar Gomez are both "possibilities" for tomorrow. They were both very aggressive with their bullpens' and that is why neither was ready to go tonight. Finally Hurdle said that Jeff Locke has been a "very honest self-evaluator" and that a decision will be made after talking to him before tonight's game.

* The Pirates manager talked to tonight's starter, Brandon Cumpton, before the game: "The guy is excited for this opportunity," Hurdle said, "and I'm a little more comfortable with him taking the mound."

* It does not appear that Vin Mazzaro is an immediate candidate to spot-start as Hurdle noted that Jeanmar Gomez is "probably the guy in front of him," however, Hurdle added that if the Pirates find themselves stuck in a situation where they have to play a doubleheader then Mazzaro is a "possibility" to start.

* "Everything has gone as well as could have hoped," Hurdle said of Jose Tabata's rehabilitation. The conventional wisdom in the press box is that with the Pirates facing two left-handed starters the next two nights Tabata will be likely called up after tonight's game.

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