McLouth in new territory facing Bucs
Pittsburgh (26-31) at Atlanta (28-28), 7 p.m. ET
ATLANTA -- Days after an emotional goodbye to the only organization that he had known, center fielder Nate McLouth seemed comfortable and content in his new Braves uniform on Monday. Still, it remains a bit odd for all involved as the Pirates face McLouth and his new Atlanta teammates at Turner Field this week."Once the game starts, it will be OK," said McLouth, who was drafted by the Bucs in the 25th round in 2000 (2009 Draft coverage Tuesday night, live on MLB.com and MLB Network, begins at 6 p.m. ET).
"Things take care of themselves on the field. But it's certainly going to be weird playing against guys that I've grown up playing with."The hardest part since I got traded was walking out on the relationships that I've built through the years I was in the organization," he added. "Losing the people that you've come to know over eight, nine, 10 years is the hard part." McLouth said that in a way, having his former teammates in town just five days after the Pirates traded him to Atlanta helps to provide some normalcy for what has been an unexpected transition. There will be friends to go out to lunch with and conversations to be continued. There also comes the task, though, of facing those former teammates on the field. "I think it will be a little strange both ways," manager John Russell said. "It's like when you have inter-squad games in Spring Training, you don't like hitting off your own pitchers. It'll be different because it's so fresh. "I know everybody will be happy to see him. We just hope he really struggles for four days and gets hot after we leave." Ross Ohlendorf, who will make the start for Pittsburgh in Tuesday's 7 p.m. ET game, can only hope that he fares better than staff-mate Zach Duke did on Monday. In McLouth's first game against the Pirates, he went 3-for-7 with a homer, two runs scored and a stolen base. The Pirates have changed all their signs for the series, since McLouth would obviously be able to relay those signs to his new teammates. But that can't keep McLouth from using his knowledge of the Pirates' pitching staff and the pitchers' tendencies to his advantage. "You know what to expect from a lot of guys, but actually going out an executing is different," McLouth said. "Hopefully I'll put together some good at-bats against these guys." Since arriving in Atlanta, McLouth has gone 5-for-18. "It's been OK," McLouth. "When I'm away from the field it's a little different. I have time to think. But it's gotten progressively better and more comfortable every day, especially because the guys here have done such a great job of welcoming me and helping me as much as they can. "Whether or not I understand it, here I am," he continued. "Both teams had their reasons. When you make a trade, both teams feel like they're upgrading. I'm sure that's what happened." Pitching matchup
PIT: RHP Ross Ohlendorf (5-5, 4.85 ERA)
Despite being handed four first-inning runs, Ohlendorf wasn't able to earn the win in his last start. He lasted only 4 1/3 innings as he gave up five earned runs on nine hits against the Mets. The no-decision kept Ohlendorf winless in his past three starts. The right-hander is facing the Braves for the first time in his career. He's 2-3 with a 5.12 ERA on the road this season, giving up 31 hits in 31 2/3 innings. ATL: RHP Derek Lowe (6-3, 3.40 ERA)
Lowe earned a no-decision on Wednesday against the Cubs despite pitching at least seven innings for the fourth straight game. The big right-hander allowed two runs on five hits and retired 11 of the last 13 hitters he faced. Wednesday was the third time this season Lowe allowed three earned runs or fewer and was unable to earn a victory. He has enjoyed much success against the Pirates in his career, winning all six games he has started against Pittsburgh and posting a 2.72 ERA. Bucs bits
Triple-A third baseman Neil Walker will miss three-to-four weeks after suffering a sprained PCL ligament in his left knee while diving into first base last Tuesday. Walker, who had his knee examined in Pittsburgh, will not need surgery for the injury. ... Reliever Donnie Veal (right groin strain) made his first rehab appearance with Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday. Veal pitched two scoreless innings and struck out two. He threw 15 of his 23 pitches for strikes. Veal will continue to pitch every two-to-three days, though no date has been set for a projected return to Pittsburgh. ... Reliever Tyler Yates (right elbow inflammation) is scheduled to throw a simulated game at Turner Field on Tuesday, after which he, too, will be sent to Indianapolis for a rehab assignment. He'll likely join the Indians later this week and make a handful of appearances before being cleared to return to the Pirates. ... Shortstop Jack Wilson returned to the lineup on Monday after missing one game with a sore right shoulder. ... On Sunday, right-handed pitching prospect Bryan Morris made his return after a two-month right shoulder injury. Morris allowed four runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings. Tickets
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Wednesday: Pirates (Jeff Karstens, 2-3, 5.30) at Braves (Jair Jurrjens, 5-3, 2.84), 7 p.m. ET
Thursday: Pirates (Paul Maholm, 4-2, 3.94) at Braves (Javier Vazquez, 4-5, 3.54), 1 p.m. ET
Friday: Pirates (Ian Snell, 1-6, 5.54) vs. Tigers (Rick Porcello, 6-4, 3.98), 7:05 p.m. ET
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.