HOUSTON -- Minutes after manager Clint Hurdle clarified a Pirates starting rotation impacted by the trade for Wandy Rodriguez, he was asked whether he'd always dreamed of having a rotation strong enough to force the winner of six straight into the bullpen. "Never crossed my mind," answered Hurdle, who had just announced that Kevin Correia was getting the bump to relief work. Correia, a 31-year-old right-hander, got the news while in the best streak of his 10-year career. He has won six straight decisions in his last seven starts.
But as the admittedly least-overpowering, most to-contact pitcher in the rotation, he will step aside for Rodriguez, who will make his Pirates debut in Saturday night's game here against his recent Astros teammates, Erik Bedard, originally set to start that game, is being pushed back to a Monday start in Chicago. Due to the pre-series debriefings going on in the clubhouse, reporters had to leave following their session with Hurdle, thus Correia's views on the move were not immediately available. "He was disappointed, without doubt," Hurdle said. "First time in his career he wins six straight, and is moved to the 'pen? I had to wrestle with that one. It's one of the hardest decisions we've had to make. But we're best served right now by moving him out there. "I don't think [Jeff] Karstens is in position, physically, to move to the bullpen. Bedard isn't either. No disrespect to Kevin, and I told him that. He needs to be encouraged by what he's been able to do." Correia will complement Brad Lincoln as a long man. Hurdle acknowledged he will probably need a couple of days to come to terms with the move, and would not be available in relief until Saturday -- when he could very well take over on the mound for the man who is taking over for him in the rotation.