Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan misses save chance with hamstring injury

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Joel Hanrahan was unavailable out of the Pirates’ bullpen last night because of a hamstring injury, so Juan Cruz got a rare save opportunity and closed out a 5-4 win over the Diamondbacks.

Tom Singer of MLB.com reports that Hanrahan tweaked his hamstring while throwing the final pitch of his Sunday save versus the Giants and “remains day-to-day with tightness in that area.”

Hanrahan said last night that he’s hoping to be available again Friday or Saturday, which would be nearly a week since the initial injury and means any further setback puts a disabled list stint in play.

He was fantastic last year with a 1.83 ERA and 40 saves in his first full season as a closer, but Hanrahan has gotten just one save chance so far this year. Last night’s save was surprisingly just the fourth of Cruz’s career despite his being a late-inning reliever with bat-missing stuff since 2004.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.