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Pirates vs. Dodgers, 16 April 2008

Paul Maholm vs. Brad Penny, 10:10 PM. Here's the box.

A couple of links:

-P- Chris Duffy got a cortisone shot for his shoulder pain. It sounds like he won't be back for a while. Barring a sudden change, there obviously isn't going to be a starting job waiting for him, but given the way Nyjer Morgan has played so far, I could see the Pirates putting Duffy in Morgan's place once Duffy has proven he's healthy at AAA. Of course, until he's well enough to throw, that will all remain in the realm of speculation.

-P- Also from the Post-Gazette, here's an article about the Pirates' improved patience this year. We haven't really reached the point where comparisons between this year and last really mean a lot, but things do seem different. Having Ryan Doumit and Nate McLouth in place of Ronny Paulino and the speedy, slap-hitting outfielder du jour certainly helps, as does the improved play of Jason Bay, who's been drawing walks like crazy. The Pirates' hitting hasn't been utterly painful to watch this year, either; you can turn on a game and be reasonably confident you're not going to see 18 consecutive first-pitch grounders to second.

-P- A bit of minor league news: 2006 second-round pick Mike Felix somehow struck out seven batters and walked none in a three-inning stint yesterday for Hickory. I'd had Felix in my "dead to me" list (right between Jimmy Fallon and Bob Feller) after his terrible performance in 2007, but I'm going to have to move him to "on notice." Felix now has 13 strikeouts and just two walks and four hits in nine innings pitched. Keep an eye on him.