While the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals have been busy splitting the first two games of a weekend series, they also are doing a lot of juggling with their rosters.
Those rosters will be somewhat different Sunday at PNC Park than they were Friday.
Pittsburgh (28-23) on Saturday activated center fielder Starling Marte (strained right oblique) from the disabled list and returned infielder Jose Osuna to Triple-A Indianapolis. In a 4-1 loss Saturday, Marte slid back into this No. 3 spot in the lineup and hit a solo homer, with struggling right fielder Gregory Polanco moving to seventh.
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Rookie Austin Meadows, who prospered in his first seven major league games filling in for Marte, was kept on the roster, but he will be the fourth outfielder and did not start Saturday.
“I think we tried to put our best roster together right now,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “I have no shelf life on (Meadows’ promotion), nor would I want to, nor do I need to. He’s earned this opportunity. This is what’s next, and we’ll see where we go from here together with him individually and with our club.
“We need to continue to monitor (left fielder Corey) Dickerson’s on-field innings. Marte’s bouncing back. We’re going to be smart with (him) and Polanco. So I think between the four of them, and a true fourth outfielder, we’ll be able to have the opportunity to get everybody playing time and everybody rest.”
In addition, the Pirates announced that starter Ivan Nova has a strained ligament in his right index finger and might go on the DL, which would open the door for rookie Nick Kingham to get his third call-up this season in the next few days.
St. Louis (27-22) activated backup catcher Carson Kelly (right hamstring strain) and left-hander Tyler Lyons (back strain) from the DL. The Cardinals put struggling reliever Greg Holland on the DL because of right hip impingement and optioned catcher Steven Baron to Triple-A Memphis.
Holland on Friday allowed two runs in an outing for the fourth straight game, leaving his ERA at 9.45.
“It was the same, unfortunately,” St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said of Holland’s outing Friday before the DL decision was made.
Matheny said his bullpen is not in disarray, but it isn’t set, either.
“We’ve had some guys throwing the ball well, but there are still some unanswered questions and some great opportunities for guys to take advantage of,” he said.
Like the Pirates, the Cardinals made changes in their lineup order. Matt Carpenter returned to the leadoff spot, Tommy Pham moved down to third and Jose Martinez hit second.
In the series finale, Pittsburgh right-hander Jameson Taillon (2-4, 4.56 ERA) is scheduled to face Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas (6-0, 2.24 ERA).
Taillon started the season so strong that it seemed he was on the verge of becoming the ace of the rotation, but is 0-4 in eight starts since he pitched a one-hit complete-game shutout against Cincinnati on April 8.
His last time out, Taillon gave up a grand slam among six runs and eight hits in six innings Tuesday in a 7-2 loss to the Reds.
“I might lose sleep over a couple pitch-execution choices … but overall, I felt like I threw the ball really well,” Taillon said. “Just a couple pitches, a couple hits they strung together. That’s how you do damage.”
Taillon is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in five career starts against St. Louis.
Mikolas, in contrast, is enjoying a stellar season, especially his last start. On Monday, he threw his first complete game and shutout, a 6-0 win over Kansas City, including seven no-hit innings and a career-best nine strikeouts.
He is 1-0 in three appearances (one start) against Pittsburgh with a 1.86 ERA, 10 strikeouts and one walk.