Younger LaRoche to sit out series finale

Younger LaRoche to sit out finale

PHOENIX -- The Pirates will finish their one visit to Chase Field this season without third baseman Andy LaRoche in the lineup for the second consecutive day.

LaRoche sat out Tuesday, and will do so again on Wednesday, after suffering a deep bruise near the joint on his right thumb in his final swing on Monday. Fortunately, there is no connection between the bruised thumb and the torn ligament he suffered in the same thumb back in March.

"It was a direct impact, so it wasn't like it jerked the thumb back," said LaRoche, explaining how his bat jammed into his thumb on the swing. "It's just a mild sprain, so the chances of it getting retorn are slim to none."

He saw a hand specialist on Tuesday, and all X-rays on the hand came back negative.

LaRoche will not throw or take swings until Friday, with the possibility that he could be back in the lineup for that day's series opener in Philadelphia. If LaRoche doesn't see improvement in the flexibility of his thumb by then, he said he may undergo an MRI just to ensure that there is no further damage.

The immediate concern about LaRoche's thumb after Monday's game came from the fact that he had surgery in the same spot back in March after being hit in the thumb with a ball while trying to catch a pickoff throw at third base while with the Dodgers.

With LaRoche out for the time being, Jose Bautista will step back into the starting lineup. Bautista, who had been the club's primary third baseman until the Pirates acquired LaRoche via a trade last Thursday, made the start on Tuesday and went 0-for-3.

Pitching matchup
PIT: RHP Jeff Karstens (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
Karstens picked up a win in his first Major League start this season, going six shutout innings. It wasn't exactly dominating, as he allowed five hits and four walks in the outing. However, Karstens showcased an impressive offspeed repertoire when needed. Whether he relies so heavily on his slider and curveball moving forward remains to be seen. The Pirates acquired Karstens in a deal with the Yankees, and he will remain in the rotation after spending the first four months of the season in Triple-A.

ARI: LHP Randy Johnson (9-7, 4.35 ERA)
Johnson won his fifth straight start and the 293rd of his career, as he allowed just one unearned run on five hits over six innings against the Dodgers last Friday at Dodger Stadium. During his five-start win streak, he has allowed just five earned runs in 32 1/3 innings, and he has not allowed an earned run in his last 21 innings. The Big Unit has located his pitchers better during the streak thanks to finally feeling locked in with his mechanics.

Bucs bits
Closer Matt Capps made his first Gulf Coast League appearance on Tuesday. Capps, who has been sidelined with bursitis in his right shoulder, threw 16 pitches in one inning of work. His velocity reached 93 mph. Capps is expected to throw another inning Friday, and assuming no setbacks will then join one of the organization's Minor League teams for a rehab assignment. ... Triple-A starter Jimmy Barthmaier is off the disabled list and is scheduled to make his next start for Indianapolis on Sunday. ... Bryan Morris, who was acquired in the Jason Bay trade last week, made his first start for Class A Hickory on Tuesday. Morris pitched five scoreless innings and allowed two hits and four walks. ... Also making his organizational debut on Tuesday was outfielder Jose Tabata, who was acquired from the Yankees before the Trade Deadline, went deep twice in his third game for the GCL Pirates. Tabata, who is recovering from a hamstring injury, is 4-for-9 with six RBIs since joining the organization.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WPGB-FM 104.7

Up next
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Pirates (Paul Maholm, 7-7, 3.95) at Phillies (Joe Blanton, 6-12, 4.94), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Pirates (Ian Snell, 4-8, 6.14) at Phillies (TBD), 7:05 p.m. ET

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.