• James McDonald was roughed up in his first rehab start with Double-A Altoona on Monday, giving up three runs and four walks in two-thirds of an inning. Hurdle said McDonald, who has been dealing with right shoulder stiffness since early May, didn't have any physical setbacks during the start and didn't use that as an excuse for his poor performance.
He'll make another rehab start on June 1, throwing five innings and 80 pitches.
"He did not spend a lot of time in deep discussion about his health. He said, 'I need to throw more strikes. I need to have that intent, that conviction that determination to finish pitches off,' " Hurdle said. "We talked about focus on the mound."
• The Pirates have played four, four-game series this season. In each of them, they have dropped the first game and won the next three.
While this two-game home-and-home series against the Tigers isn't considered a four-game set, a Pittsburgh win Thursday would mark the fifth time they've accomplished that strange feat this season.
• The Pirates are 23-6 when scoring at least four runs this season.