CIN@PIT: Hurdle on McCutchen, Walker in walk-off win

BALTIMORE -- For the first time this season and after 26 games, the Pirates will play a team outside the NL Central. Pittsburgh plays a two-game series in Baltimore against the Orioles, assuming the weather cooperates.

Tuesday's series opener was rained out, leaving the series scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.

Yes, to wait that long is unusual. Every other team this season has already played non-divisional foes. Manager Clint Hurdle does not recall such a scenario unfolding during his years as a player or coach.

As for whether facing teams that know his squad well has been a factor in their 10-16 start, "I don't know," Hurdle said.

"You've got to play well. I know when you play well, it's easier to gauge things. When you're in the state of the game that we are right now, we're not meeting the demands of the game. When you don't meet the demands of the game nightly, you put yourself at the mercy of the game."

The Pirates enter Tuesday 14th in the National League in batting average (.221) and 10th in ERA (3.65).

"It's not so much about the competition we're playing against. It's about us playing to the best we can play," Hurdle said.

Sadler still getting goose bumps over callup

Sadler building confidence in first big league camp

BALTIMORE -- At first, Casey Sadler thought Indianapolis Indians manager Dean Treanor was just horsing around. Nope, the Pirates' 23-year-old right-handed prospect was indeed called up from Triple-A to the Major League club over the weekend, though his manager didn't exactly tell Sadler the news straight out.

"My wife and I brought our barrel horse with us [to Indianapolis], because we have friends in Indiana that rodeo a lot, and she rodeos," Sadler said on Tuesday inside the visiting dugout at Orioles Park at Camden Yards. Following Tuesday's rainout, Pittsburgh opens a two-game series with Baltimore on Wednesday after Sadler joined the squad in St. Louis on Sunday.

"They just pulled me in [the office] and started asking about my horse, and I'm like, 'Am I going to get in trouble for bringing a horse?' Then they were like, 'Is everything OK with the horse? Are you taking care of it like you should be?' I'm like, 'Yeah. Did something happen?' Then Dean was like, 'We just want to make sure it's OK, because you can't take it to St. Louis with you.'

"It took me a second to kind of process it all. I still get goose bumps when I talk about it."

With Indianapolis, Sadler went 3-0 with a 1.67 ERA over four starts. With the Pirates, he'll work in relief -- for now anyway.

"We have five starters right now," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "As it stands right now, [Sadler] will not start. He will pitch out of the bullpen."

That's more than fine with the sinkerballer.

"I've spent the majority of my career in the bullpen," said Sadler, who was selected in the 25th round by the Pirates in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. "Whatever they need me to do to contribute is fine with me. I'm here at their beckon call."

Pirates hope familiarity breeds wins vs. Orioles

The Bucs and O's met four times during the Grapefuit League schedule.

BALTIMORE -- Based on their Spring Training workouts and games, the Orioles probably aren't a bad team for the Pirates to open their Interleague Play schedule. From a familiarity standpoint, that is.

"We got to see them a handful of times in Spring Training. We probably got to know this team better than any team in the American League," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said before launching into a scouting report.

The two sides are scheduled to play a two-game series, though Tuesday's opener was rained out and postponed until Thursday, with the opener now set for Wednesday.

"They like to swing it. They play for big innings. They can manufacture some runs. They do so more at the bottom of the lineup than anywhere else," Hurdle said. "You've got to pitch, you've got to buy real estate at both sides of the plate. ... I think we do have a comfort going on because we have seen them. We know their personnel."

One part of the Orioles' personnel that is expected to change this series involves third baseman Manny Machado. One of baseball's rising stars in the batter's box and in the field, Machado had surgery last October after suffering a season-ending knee injury. Yet to play for the Orioles in 2014, he batted .283 with 14 home runs and 71 RBIs in 156 games.

The Pirates manager expressed sincere excitement about seeing Machado in person, something he's only done in a prior Spring Training before 2013.

"I'm just looking forward to seeing him play," Hurdle said. "He's an offensive player, but he's made some defensive plays that are off the charts."