Arizona at Pittsburgh

Diamondbacks-Pirates rained out, to be made up June 19

CBS wire reports

PITTSBURGH -- A rainout Thursday left an ineffective Oliver Perez out of the Pittsburgh Pirates' rotation for one start and the unhappy Arizona Diamondbacks with an unwanted return visit that makes an already lengthy road trip even longer.

The Diamondbacks-Pirates game was postponed after a wait of less than 90 minutes following the scheduled 12:35 p.m. start. It will be made up at 12:35 p.m. on June 19, previously an off day for both teams.

The rainout forces the Diamondbacks to include the one-day stop in Pittsburgh during a weeklong road trip that also takes them to Texas and Tampa Bay. Arizona manager Bob Melvin thought there should have been a longer wait before the game was called, especially since the two teams had all day to play.

"It's a little confusing that we've got some time here but, for whatever reason, it's canceled -- I guess because they forecast rain for a while," Melvin said. "We had time to sit around but, obviously, we're not in charge of that."

Because of the lost day off, the Diamondbacks will play every day but one from May 26 through June 25. The Pirates will remain at home for an extra day on what now becomes a seven-day homestand from June 13-19.

"It makes for a tough trip," Melvin said.

There was no sitting around for Perez, even though the left-hander will be skipped over once in Pittsburgh's rotation because of the rainout. Within minutes of the game being called, he went to an indoor batting cage to throw a practice session monitored by pitching coach Jim Colborn and bullpen coach Bobby Cuellar.

Pirates manager Jim Tracy said the rainout gives Colborn and Cuellar three extra sessions with Perez -- the others will be on Saturday and Monday -- before he starts again Wednesday against Cincinnati.

Perez has made five consecutive poor starts since giving up one run in 5 1/3 innings in Milwaukee on opening day and, with a 1-4 record and 7.53 ERA, is in danger of being demoted to the minors for the first time since 2003.

Tracy seems exasperated that Perez is either ignoring or refusing to make changes in his delivery and mechanics -- no doubt why he wants the pitcher to spend more time with the coaching staff. Before Perez's most recent start, a 5-1 loss to the Nationals last Friday, Perez apparently decided on his own to go back to the delivery he used while going 12-10 with a 2.98 ERA in 2004.

Tracy also suggested that Perez has done well at times when he has made the changes asked of him, only to fall back into his old habits or patterns quickly.

"I've seen him be given the answer, and then I've seen him stay with it and do some things -- even if they're just brief spurts," Tracy said. "You look at it and say, `Wow,' but, if he falls out of it very quickly, it goes away."

Because they are bypassing Perez, the Pirates will start Victor Santos (1-4), Zach Duke (2-3) and Ian Snell (2-2) as scheduled this weekend against the Marlins.

Melvin chose not to alter his rotation, so Juan Cruz (1-0) -- Thursday's scheduled starter -- will pitch Friday in St. Louis, followed by Claudio Vargas (4-1) and Orlando Hernandez (2-4). Miguel Batista starts Monday against San Diego rather than Sunday against the Cardinals.

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