After going 20 straight days without a day off, the Pittsburgh Pirates got a second straight day to relax.
Rain washed out the Pirates’ game against the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday night. The game was rescheduled for Thursday night, previously a day off for both teams.
The Pirates could probably use the break. They’re off to a 10-16 start and have lost five straight series.
“We already had a day off Monday, but we played 20 in 20 days before that,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said before the rainout. “We control a lot of things, but we don’t control the weather.”
The start of the two-game series was pushed back to Wednesday, but rain was in the forecast then, too.
“The only thing about playing a doubleheader on Thursday is that we would have a normal off day where we would have to plug in a pitcher instead,” Hurdle said.
Hurdle made no excuses for Pittsburgh’s lackluster start, and won’t wave it off just because the calendar hasn’t yet hit May.
“When you’re where we are, when you’re not meeting the demands of the game, you are putting yourself at the mercy of the game,” Hurdle said. “I don’t believe in saying ‘It’s still early.’ I can say it’s early until it’s not early anymore, but the truth is that April is about to flip.”
The rainout delayed the potential major league debut of right-hander Casey Sadler, who was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday. A starter in the minors, Sadler will be used initially by Pittsburgh in relief.
“I have seen guys get all tense about when they’ll get in,” Sadler said Tuesday afternoon. “Whenever they call my name, I’ll be ready.”
The rainout also stalled the return of Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who will come off the disabled list before Baltimore’s next game. Machado hasn’t played since undergoing left knee surgery in October.
“I’m just looking forward to seeing him play, even just for a quick peek,” Hurdle said. “So far everything I’ve seen is from tape. He hits the ball well and has made some great plays at third base.”
The 21-year-old Machado hit .283 with 14 homers, 71 RBIs and 51 doubles last year, his first full season in the majors. He will fill the roster spot vacated by slugger Chris Davis, who went on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a strained left oblique.
Machado will also provide stability defensively next to fellow Gold Glove winner J.J. Hardy.
“We played 156, 157 games together on the left side of the infield last year, so it’s going to be nice to be looking over to my right and being pretty familiar with each other,” Hardy said. “We’re all happy to a have him back.”
Machado insists there’s no play defensively that he would be reluctant to make.
“I’m ready to play baseball. I’m going to go out there and make whatever play comes my way,” he said. “I made a couple of nice plays in the lower levels, and I feel good defensively. I feel great (there). I’m not concerned about anything. I’m a baseball player, and I’ve been doing this my whole life. I’m just going to go out there, and whatever comes my way, just go out there and do it and play some baseball and have some fun at the same while I’m doing it.”