PITTSBURGH -- As previously noted, it took Andrew Lambo seven years to reach the Major Leagues. Once he got the call, however, his actual big league career went to hyper speed.
When Jose Tabata gave in to flu-like symptoms on the Pirates' first night in St. Louis and had to be scratched from the lineup, Lambo quickly went from wide-eyed spectator to starting right fielder.
So much for the natural get-acclimated period Pirates manager Clint Hurdle prefers to give to Major League neophytes before sending them on stage.
"Usually you wait until the adrenaline and the excitement get to where they need to be, and you reach that comfort level," said Hurdle.
Without that luxury, Lambo may not have been himself in his first seven hitless at-bats against the Cardinals. That might also explain why Hurdle declined to share his first impressions of Lambo when first asked prior to the Thursday afternoon finale at Busch Stadium.
Lambo unloaded on a Lance Lynn fastball in that game for a double that drove in the Bucs' first run. So Hurdle opened up about the guy who arrived as co-leader in all of the Minor Leagues with 31 homers.
"There's an aggressive swing there. A lot of power," Hurdle said. "And a pretty good eye at the plate -- although we've encouraged him to stay aggressive in the strike zone. We'll continue to look for opportunities to maximize that here."
On his first day in the home whites, Lambo got that adrenaline-tone-down break. He began the game against Arizona watching Tabata in right from the Pirates' dugout.
Wandy feels good after 35-pitch simulated game
PITTSBURGH -- Wandy Rodriguez's long comeback journey continued Friday at PNC Park, and the left-hander the Pirates would love to get back for the postseason finally has a road map.
Rodriguez went through a 35-pitch simulated game early Friday afternoon and, as relayed by manager Clint Hurdle, "everyone who witnessed it was pleased with it."
As was the main attraction. Rodriguez went through his repertoire -- changeups, two- and four-seam fastballs -- and "felt and looked good," according to the manager.
The itinerary for Rodriguez's return, assuming he continues to feel well after each step: A bullpen session on Monday in San Diego, another simulated game on Friday in San Francisco, then possibly squeezing in a rehab game or two before the shrinking Minor League schedules expire.
Rodriguez went on the DL with tightness in the left forearm on June 11, and the plug was pulled on his first rehab assignment on July 1 when the discomfort returned. The veteran southpaw has a 6-4 record and 3.59 ERA. He led the staff in wins at the time of his injury.
Pirates sign reliever Farnsworth to Minors deal
PITTSBURGH -- Making another move clearly in hopes of adding additional veteran presence for a September drive into the postseason, the Pirates on Friday signed right-handed reliever Kyle Farnsworth.
Farnsworth was assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis, where he will join catcher Kelly Shoppach, another recently released Major League veteran signed to a Minor League deal on Monday.
Farnsworth, 37, was released on Aug. 9 by Tampa Bay. He had posted a 5.76 ERA in 39 appearances with the Rays, for whom he served as the closer in 2011 prior to the 2012 arrival of Fernando Rodney.
Farnsworth ranks third among active pitchers with his 849 appearances for six different teams. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder with the big arm has 936 strikeouts in 951 1/3 innings.
Interestingly, the Bucs may soon be able to call on a pair of righties who two years ago combined for 45 saves: Mark Melancon, installed as the Bucs' closer in the wake of Jason Grilli's forearm injury, had 20 saves for the 2011 Astros, and Farnsworth had 25 for the Rays.
First number, last word
8-10: Pirates' record against National League West teams, prior to the first of 10 straight against that division, starting with Friday night's meeting with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"Charlie's a good-ole boy. He sold out for the game. He is a very confident man, and he's done some great things for that organization. He re-established that winning tradition and mentality. From my understanding, he exited as I figured he would -- in a very classy and professional way." -- Hurdle, on former Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
• Michael McKenry, who underwent left knee surgery two weeks ago, made his first return visit to the Bucs' clubhouse -- on crutches -- and received a very warm welcome from his teammates.
• Tabata returned to the lineup after missing all three starts in St. Louis -- where he is a lifetime .327 hitter after going 3-for-3 off the bench in Thursday's game.
Asked whether he considered hypnotizing Tabata into believing he was still in Busch Stadium, Hurdle said with a smile, "I don't think that's legal."
• As part of Friday's day-long SU2C (Stand Up To Cancer) event surrounding the Pirates' game, the club offered special ticket packages in which $10 of each ticket price was donated to SU2C.
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.