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Notes: Torres placed on disabled list

Notes: Torres placed on disabled list

NEW YORK -- Before Saturday's game, the Pirates announced that they had placed reliever Salomon Torres on the 15-day disabled list with right medial elbow inflammation.

The Pirates called up Masumi Kuwata from Triple-A Indianapolis to fill the bullpen vacancy.

Pirates manager Jim Tracy said that Torres first approached trainers after Friday's game, indicating that he was feeling soreness on the inside of his right elbow, prompting the club to take a precautionary approach by placing Torres on the DL.

"Before we move forward with anything else, we are going to get him checked out," Tracy said. "We'll find out exactly what he's dealing with after he sees the doctor, so I don't want to speculate about that."

While Tracy said that Torres hadn't mentioned the discomfort to him at any point this season, in their meeting last night, Torres told his manager that the soreness is something he has been dealing with on and off since Spring Training, and even periodically over the past few years.

Though not using it as an excuse, the arm discomfort could be one explanation for the notable struggles Torres has dealt with over the past two weeks.

The right-handed reliever has three blown saves and two losses since May 31 and has given up five runs in his last 4 2/3 innings. Torres didn't record an out in Friday's series opener against the Yankees, and he allowed a game-tying single in the seventh inning.

"When you start talking about soreness on the inside part of elbow, you can't just continue to be playing without seeing somebody to figure out what it is to deal with and the course of action to deal with," Tracy said.

Torres will see a doctor early next week when the team returns to Pittsburgh, but in the meantime, the Pirates bullpen couldn't afford to have its veteran reliever sitting in the bullpen not able to pitch for the rest of the series against the Yankees.

With closer Matt Capps having pitched two innings in each of the last two games and likely facing a suspension next week, the Pirates needed to make a move to ensure that another fresh arm would be available.

The Pittsburgh manager said that Capps may be available on Saturday if a save situation arises, though the right-hander would be used in a very limited role.

King Kuwata: One week after making his North American debut for Indianapolis, Kuwata has earned his first trip to the Major Leagues.

"Masumi Kuwata is coming to the big leagues," Tracy announced in his crowded office that included a number of members of the Japanese media.

The Pirates signed Kuwata, who will be the first Japanese player to wear a Pirates uniform, to a Minor League contract in December, and the right-hander pitched for the team during Spring Training before a severely sprained ankle sidelined him in March.

After nursing the ankle, Kuwata joined Indianapolis a week ago and pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings in his three appearances for the Indians. The 39-year-old allowed three hits, while striking out three.

Tracy praised Kuwata's propensity to throw strikes and his veteran leadership, hopeful that the 39-year-old's experience will be an asset in a bullpen that has three young arms in Josh Sharpless, Jonah Bayliss and Capps.

"Here's the thing -- he has experience, he has know-how," Tracy said. "Is it going to work? While we get the situation figured out with what's going on with Salomon ... here's an opportunity to find something out about this guy."

Before trying to realize his dream of playing in the Major Leagues, Kuwata spent 20 years as a pitcher for the Yomiuri Giants, where he had a 173-141 record and a 3.46 in 442 games.

Though flight problems have caused a delay in Kuwata's arrival, he was expected to arrive at Yankee Stadium during Saturday's game, possibly available to pitch out of the bullpen if necessary.

The Roger Clemens show: The Pirates really haven't bought into the national hoopla surrounding Saturday's season debut for the sure-to-be first-ballot Hall of Famer Roger Clemens. With Clemens having spent the past three seasons with the Astros of the National League Central, the Pirates are very familiar with the 44-year-old right-hander.

They want to spoil Clemens' return as much as the New York fans want to see their newly acquired pitcher save the Yankees' season.

"We've faced Roger Clemens before," Tracy said. "We're not looking for a moral victory. We're looking to beat him."

Of the nine hitters in the starting lineup, only one -- Jose Bautista -- has not faced Clemens at least once. But while the Pirates will look to play the role of spoiler in Clemens' Saturday start, Tracy said it never hurts to take some time to appreciate his success.

"[He has] 348 victories," Tracy said. "What isn't there to appreciate about that? There's something about him that reeks of winning. You don't win 348 [games] by accident."

Masterful Marte: If the Pirates had given a game ball out after Friday's game, it would have left-handed reliever Damaso Marte's name scribbled all over it.

While Derek Jeter's 10-inning heroics capped a heartbreaker for Pittsburgh, the game would have been well etched into the loss column much earlier had it not been for Marte's seventh-inning hold. It was yet another solid performance for the Pittsburgh reliever, who has inconspicuously been putting together some impressive numbers.

Marte entered a tied game on Friday with a Yankees baserunner on every base and Hideki Matsui at the plate with one out. Matsui watched a called third strike before Marte induced a flyout from Robinson Cano to end the Yankees' threat.

Tracy described the performance as "brilliant," especially considering the raucous atmosphere that Marte found himself in.

Of all National League pitchers with at least 15 appearances, Marte had the third-lowest ERA at 1.33 entering Saturday. The left-hander had struck out 23 in 20 1/3 innings pitched.

Behind closed doors: Tracy and Pirates pitching coach Jim Colborn had a closed-door meeting in Tracy's office before Saturday's game. Tracy was about 45 minutes later than usual in talking to the media because of the lengthy meeting.

On deck: The Pirates will close out their three-game series against the Yankees with Sunday's 1:05 p.m. ET game at Yankee Stadium. Right-hander Shawn Chacon (2-0, 3.26 ERA) will face New York's Tyler Clippard (3-1, 3.60 ERA) in the series finale.

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

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