When you thought it couldn't get worse for Pirates

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Remember that big Manny Ramirez trade last summer? Manny to the Dodgers, Jason Bay to the Red Sox and Andy LaRoche and three prospects to the Pirates.

Fifty-game suspension aside, it worked out pretty well for the Dodgers. And you know Boston is happy with Jason being Jason.

But the Pirates, of course, can’t catch any luck. In addition to a mediocre LaRoche, they received Bryan Morris from the Dodgers, and Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen from the Red Sox.

Moss is, like LaRoche, quite mediocre as a platoon outfielder. Morris can’t throw strikes in Single-A. And Hansen, once thought to potentially be Jonathan Papelbon’s future replacement, was also wild and on the 60-day disabled list.

Through it all, Pirates GM Neal Huntington has remained optimistic.

But now, as it turns out, the news is even worse. According to John Perrotto at Piratesreport.com, Hansen is suffering from a rare condition that affects a group of nerves that send signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm and hand.

Recovery is essentially a crap shoot. It can take months. It can take years. It might not happen at all. All you can do is rest the affected area and hope. As Hansen told Perrotto …

“The muscles in my right shoulder have atrophied so much that there would be almost no way that, even if the nerve healed tomorrow, I would be able to get my strength back in time to pitch in a game this year,” Hansen said.

Hansen said that he might come back as a left-hander, showing his sense of humor while in a tough situation.

“I’m thinking about getting a left-hander’s glove and coming back as a lefty,” Hansen said. “I could pitch until I’m 45 and get guys out with my high school curveball.”

NLDS, Game 1: Cubs vs. Cardinals lineups

Jon Lester
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Here are the Cubs and Cardinals lineups for Game 1 of the NLDS in St. Louis:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
3B Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
2B Starlin Castro
LF Chris Coghlan
SS Addison Russell
C David Ross
SP Jon Lester

Jon Lester’s personal catcher David Ross takes the place of Miguel Montero behind the plate. Kris Bryant shifts back to third base after playing left field in Game 1, with Chris Coghlan coming off the bench to get a start in the outfield against a right-hander. Addison Russell bats seventh, which he did just 10 times during the regular season.

3B Matt Carpenter
1B Stephen Piscotty
LF Matt Holliday
CF Jason Heyward
SS Jhonny Peralta
RF Randal Grichuk
C Yadier Molina
2B Kolten Wong
SP John Lackey

Mike Matheny’s lineup for Game 1 is an interesting one. Jason Heyward is batting cleanup and playing center field, where he started just eight games all season. Stephen Piscotty plays first base, where he started just nine games. Yadier Molina is behind the plate, toughing his way through a significant thumb injury that’s sidelined him since September 20 and leaves him at much less than 100 percent now. Brandon Moss, Mark Reynolds, and Jon Jay are all on the bench.

Steven Matz is on the Mets’ playoff roster, set for Game 4 start

New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz (32) works during the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves on Friday, Sept. 11, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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Rookie left-hander Steven Matz hasn’t pitched since September 24 because of a back injury, but he’s on the Mets’ playoff roster for the NLDS and looks likely to start Game 4 against the Dodgers.

Matz prepped for a potential start by throwing 80 pitches in a simulated game Thursday and apparently experienced no issues. Even setting aside the health question mark Matz has started just six games in the majors, but he’s 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA and 34/10 K/BB ratio in 35.2 innings.

Matz is one of 11 pitchers on the NLDS roster, along with 14 position players. No big surprises.

ALDS, Game 2: Astros vs. Royals lineups

Johnny Cueto Royals
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Here are the Astros and Royals lineups for Game 2 of the ALDS in Kansas City:

2B Jose Altuve
RF George Springer
SS Carlos Correa
LF Colby Rasmus
DH Evan Gattis
3B Luis Valbuena
1B Chris Carter
C Jason Castro
CF Jake Marisnick

SP Scott Kazmir

Carlos Gomez remains out of the lineup with an intercostal injury, so Marisnick makes another start in center field after going 2-for-4 with standout defense in Game 1.

SS Alcides Escobar
2B Ben Zobrist
CF Lorenzo Cain
1B Eric Hosmer
DH Kendrys Morales
3B Mike Moustakas
C Salvador Perez
LF Alex Gordon
RF Alex Rios

SP Johnny Cueto

Royals manager Ned Yost sticks with the same lineup as Game 1, which isn’t surprising given that he trotted out the same lineup for basically the entire postseason run last year. Cueto gets the ball after Yost chose Yordano Ventura for Game 1 duties.