LOS ANGELES -- Clint Hurdle, then a part-time outfielder for the New York Mets, was a late scratch from manager Davey Johnson's lineup on July 18, 1985.
Hurdle had more important matters to tend to, more important places than Shea Stadium to be. His first child, Ashley, was born that Thursday.
Two days later, he entered late a game in which the Mets were drubbing the Braves, and connected for a home run off Gene Garber.
The game was being telecast as NBC's Game of the Week, and the redhead on the air said as Hurdle circles the bases, "That'll buy some talcum powder for Ashley Hurdle."
When made aware of the comment, Hurdle called the announcer to thank him, and the men talked for 10 minutes.
And since then, whenever they are in the same park, Vin Scully has made it a point to visit and chat with the Pirates manager.
"He's encouraged me to call him 'Vin,' but it's hard. He's Mr. Scully," Hurdle said on Saturday afternoon, after the Dodgers institution had left his office. "He is one of the best storytellers I've ever listened to.
"The voice is iconic, the memory is iconic. The things he's done in the game will stick out forever."
Gomez OK after comebacker to ribs in Bucs debut
LOS ANGELES -- Jeanmar Gomez, who pitched effectively and fielded daringly in his Pirates debut Friday night, escaped serious injury when he made a body catch of Adrian Gonzalez's eighth-inning line drive.
Body catch? The liner clipped Gomez's left ribcage -- and the right-hander trapped the ball to his side by clamping his left arm on it.
X-rays taken immediately after the game were negative, except for some natural tenderness in the spot. Gomez has a couple of down days coming anyway after throwing 39 pitches in three shutout relief innings in his first outing for the Bucs, who had acquired him in the offseason from Cleveland for outfielder Quincy Latimore.
"Everything is fine," Gomez said. "It was all just reaction."
"Our first concern when he came in was, how does he feel? When you get hit like that, a little shock is involved," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's scary. No leather, hit as hard as it can, and first thing it hits is the rib cage."
Gomez might have taken some ribbing from teammates for his immediate reaction to the drive, which ended the inning. In one motion, he calmly removed the ball from his arm pit, held it up for the plate umpire to see and continued walking toward the Pirates' first-base dugout.
"Like nothing happened," Hurdle said. "Like, 'I do this every day.'"
First number, last word
1.69: The collective ERA of the Pirates bullpen, entering Saturday night's game, second in the National League to the Dodgers' perfect 0.00.
"He takes everything seriously. Even his at-bats. At some point, he must've done some damage to somebody [on the Dodgers]. He got curve, curve, changeup and came back to the bench upset that they wouldn't throw him a fastball." -- Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, on Friday night's starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez.
• Entering Saturday night's fifth game of the season, three Pirates had yet to see action: Left-hander Jeff Locke, scheduled to start Sunday's series finale with the Dodgers; reliever Chris Leroux; and backup catcher Michael McKenry.
• Jameson Taillon, another pitching member of the Pirates' family who got a jump on his '13 season with participation in the World Baseball Classic, hurled five shutout innings in his season debut Saturday as Double-A Altoona beat Erie, 6-3, in Eastern League action.
• Charlie Morton (Tommy John surgery) is slated to pitch two innings in an extended spring game on Monday.
• Francisco Liriano (fractured non-throwing right arm) threw two shifts and 30 pitches of batting practice on Friday, will throw a side session Sunday and pitch in a simulated game on Wednesday.
• Jose Contreras (Tommy John surgery) pitched a simulated inning on Friday, will throw a side session on Sunday and is due to throw two innings in extended spring action early next week.
• Jeff Karstens (shoulder inflammation) resumed throwing for the first time on Saturday, but just to play flat-ground catch.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.