Off-day gives Hurdle rotation options for Reds series

Off-day gives Hurdle rotation options for Reds series

PHOENIX -- The Pirates have not yet set their rotation for the first big NL Central series of the season, a three-game meeting with the Reds, opening Friday night in PNC Park.

An off-day between that series and the one in Arizona gives manager Clint Hurdle some alternatives, and consideration is being given to having left-hander Jeff Locke skip his next turn.

A.J. Burnett, who pitched Saturday in Los Angeles, is the likely choice to go in the opener in the Cincinnati set. Wandy Rodriguez, who started here Monday night but left with apparent cramping in the third inning, could come back for the second game, with James McDonald starting the finale.

Having their top three pitchers lined up for the defending division champs makes sense, but Hurdle was not yet ready to commit.

"We wanted to wait until A.J. pitched, and to evaluate Locke's situation," Hurdle said. "With the day off, we're looking at a couple of different options. We'll bring all the pitchers in here tomorrow and discuss it."

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. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.