ST. LOUIS -- The Pirates, on Sunday morning, announced the contraction of their rotation back to five men, not news to any sharp-eyed people who spotted Kevin Correia in Busch Stadium's bullpen on Saturday. Manager Clint Hurdle had informed Correia of the move prior to Saturday's game, and he was available in relief. Without Correia, who would have been in line to start Monday night's opener of a three-game series in San Diego, the other starters are simply being moved up: Wandy Rodriguez goes Monday, followed by A.J. Burnett and James McDonald.
This marks the reunion in the rotation of Burnett and McDonald, which could be a positive development. Until they were split up coming out of the All-Star break, the two right-handers followed each other for the last six weeks of the first half. The Pirates have an overall record of 16-4 with Burnett and McDonald starting back-to-back. Correia was resigned to being bumped from the rotation for the second time in a month. He originally was removed to accommodate Rodriguez's arrival from Houston. Since that July 25 trade, Correia has pitched three times, once in relief and twice as a spot starter. "We talked about things in life," said Hurdle, trying to characterize his latest talk with Correia. "You may not like how things are, but you just need to perform. He's been with the club all year -- he's one of the reasons we got the wins we've gotten -- and he wants to continue to help. I told him, 'Stay focused. Stay sharp. Pitch in where you're needed.'"