Pirates display pitching depth with three starters on DL

Pirates display pitching depth with three starters on DL

PITTSBURGH -- James McDonald went down with a shoulder issue that still awaits medical diagnosis. Charlie Morton and Jeff Karstens are still down.

Yet, despite the fact that 60 percent of their 2012 starting rotation is on the disabled list, the Pirates are not down, and the club took a solid record of 18-14 into Wednesday afternoon's Interleague game against Seattle.

A team veteran such as Andrew McCutchen has certainly noticed, and he is encouraged by the trend. He doesn't have to think too far back to when the team was too thin to withstand such injuries.

"In the past, in such situations, we'd go down fast. Now we've got guys to pick up the slack," McCutchen said. "It's scary how good a pitching staff we'll have when everybody is healthy."

"Scary" is an adjective often applied to Pirates teams of the recent past -- but not with the same connotation.

The latest to pick up the slack is Jeanmar Gomez, who stepped into the void left by McDonald's disablement to pitch five shutout innings in Tuesday night's victory. Not surprisingly, Gomez will keep that spot in the rotation and start on Sunday against the Mets in New York.

"He showed good maturity," Garrett Jones said of Gomez's emergency effort. "He took the ball and just went after 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.