MIAMI -- After a tough loss on Tuesday against Josh Johnson and the Marlins, the Pirates will try to rebound on Wednesday night against Ricky Nolasco. But the Bucs will have to face the talented right-hander without their star center fielder, Andrew McCutchen.
"Andrew went home today to deal with a personal matter, and that's really all we're going to share right now," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We're respecting his privacy, and I'll let you know more when I can tell you more."
With McCutchen away, the Pirates have shifted Jose Tabata from left field over to center, and Matt Diaz will play left field. Diaz knows he cannot replace the speedy leadoff man. But the veteran outfielder believes the Pirates depth will help carry them while McCutchen is away from the team.
"You don't replace Andrew," Diaz said. "We're obviously a different lineup without him in it, but the one thing about this team is we're very solid one through 25. We feel confident in our depth, and no matter who is missing -- whether it's our superstar or the starting pitcher for the day -- we're confident that we can get it done with the 25 guys we've got in this locker room."
Diaz is a player that has typically had most of his success against left-handers, but he may be the perfect player to fill in against Nolasco. In 20 at-bats, Diaz is batting .450 with three doubles and a homer against the Marlins starter.
"In the past, it's because I've been able to play a couple of days leading up to it," Diaz said. "It seemed like there were always lefties in the rotation leading up to him. I don't know if it's Ricky or just the fact that I had a few games under my belt in a row. What I do know is he's a very good pitcher and I'm never really comfortable. When somebody showed me my career numbers against him, I didn't believe it."
His numbers against the Marlins in general are equally impressive. Diaz, who spent six years with the Braves before signing with the Bucs this year, owns a .376 average with 10 doubles, 10 homers and 28 RBIs in his career against Florida.
Diaz also loves to hit at Sun Life Stadium, where he is batting .393 with four homers and 14 RBIs. With a replacement that has had so much success against Nolasco, Hurdle is confident the Pirates will be competitive while McCutchen tends to his personal matter.
"We've played without him one game this year and we won in Wrigley," Hurdle said. "That's just the way we're going about it. We're going to put Tabata in center and Diaz in left. Diaz's numbers against Nolasco have been productive when he's played against him. That's why you have 25 guys. You need everybody to contribute. This gives some other people a chance to come in to play, and some of the guys that haven't been a part of the offense can put a foot down and show up tonight."