After being placed on the disabled list May 4 -- retroactive to April 28 -- with a strained left side, reliever Brendan Donnelly is expected to come off the disabled list today.
"He threw [Tuesday] in a simulated-type game," manager John Russell said. "He feels good, and we wanted to make sure everything goes really well for him, no ill-effects. If everything goes well, we are looking to, hopefully, get him back activated [Thursday]."
How does that change the dynamic of a bullpen which, without Donnelly, has settled into a routine in which Evan Meek usually pitches in the seventh, Joel Hanrahan the eighth and Octavio Dotel the ninth?
"[Donnelly] gives you that one extra guy you know you can go to," Russell said. "Because you are not going to be able to use Meek and Hanrahan every night. It covers us for more days in a row as opposed to having him one day and then you are not going to be as effective the next day. You can never have enough."
When Donnelly is activated, the club must make a roster move.
In addition, second baseman Aki Iwamura (hamstring) was held out of the starting lineup again Wednesday and replaced by Bobby Crosby.
Chris Jakubauskas said he has been symptom-free for eight days now, then knocked his wooden locker stall.
His last remnant of the April 24 concussion from being struck by a line drive in Houston was a lingering bout that doctors diagnosed as positional vertigo. He underwent an inner-ear procedure, where a doctor massaged the outside of his ear area and skull with a vibrating device and shook his head "like a snow globe" that has led to a return to strenuous activity. He tossed 40 to 50 throws of 100 feet Wednesday, lifted weights and rode a stationary bicycle, which was his lone previous activity before the procedure.
He remains closely monitored, and no timetable exists for a return to mound work or games.
The 2-1 victory Tuesday against Philadelphia, and, more to the point, against National League preseason Cy Young favorite Roy Halladay, resonated through the clubhouse Wednesday. Halladay entered with a 6-1 record, a 1.59 earned run average and tossed his fourth complete game -- and the Pirates beat him.
"A win is a win, a loss is a loss, but, it can add a lot of confidence to a young team when you beat a pitcher of that magnitude," Russell said. "It says, 'Yeah, we know we can hang in against the best, or one of the best, in the game.' Beating a guy like that creates some confidence, not necessarily for any one individual, but from a team aspect."