• The Bucs crept within three strikeouts of Cincinnati's league-leading staff total of 350 by averaging over 10 whiffs in the last seven games, heading into Saturday night's action. Of the total of 71 strikeouts in that stretch, relievers had accounted for 34.
• Catchers routinely are rested in day games after night games, but Rusell Martin may remain in the lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Astros. If Hurdle decides to sit him, and thus give him consecutive days off with Monday's break in the schedule, Michael McKenry's week-long work on his throwing mechanics will be put to the test.
McKenry has worked hard and diligently to regain control and confidence in his throws, and it has been going well, but Hurdle noted "it'll take a game for us to find out" how much progress has been made.
• James McDonald (shoulder discomfort) has made enough progress during flat-ground throwing to be scheduled for a bullpen session on Tuesday.
• Infielder John McDonald (lower-back strain) seems certain to go out on a rehab assignment before he would be activated -- partly because Hurdle revealed the veteran is also dealing with "an elbow issue" he hadn't mentioned until being sidelined by the back.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.