The Pirates will be making their first trip to the new Yankee Stadium as they begin their weekend series in the Bronx on Friday.
For several players on Pittsburgh's roster, the trip will be a homecoming of sorts. Catcher Chris Stewart played for the Yankees over the past two seasons, and fellow backstop Russell Martin spent both 2011 and 2012 in pinstripes.
"I had a good time there; obviously playing for the Yankees, you really can't beat it with the history and the tradition they have," Stewart said. "Playing in Yankee Stadium, obviously everything is first class. We were pretty spoiled there."
The Pirates are 0-6 all time in visits to face the Yankees, though they haven't played in the Bronx since 2007. The team has never played in the new ballpark that opened its doors in 2009.
"I think [the new stadium] lost a little bit of the history, but it's still Yankee Stadium," Stewart said. "It still has Monument Park out there, so it has part of [the history]. I played in the old one, too, and it's definitely lost some of that."
Perhaps one of the new stadium's most notable features is its short porch and jetstream environment that creates a homer-friendly environment for left-handed batters. That's good news for Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez, a native of Riverdale in the Bronx, who has already fared very well in his trips back home. He's gone a career 11-for-37 with two home runs and nine RBIs at Citi Field against the Mets.
"I've witnessed quite a few popups turn into home runs," Stewart said. "Every stadium kind of has their pros and cons, and that's definitely one of them for left-handers, and some right-handers like to go the other way. I've seen popups over there that have sailed out [as opposite field shots]."
Edinson Volquez will start the opener for the Pirates. He's 1-3 with a 4.36 ERA this season. On the mound for the Yankees on Friday will be David Phelps, who has a 4.09 ERA with a pair of no decisions since moving from the bullpen.
Pirates: Decker optioned to Indianapolis
The Pirates made a roster move before Thursday's game in Milwaukee, sending outfielder Jaff Decker back to Triple-A Indianapolis as a corresponding move that allowed the club to activate starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez.
This was Decker's second go-round with a big league club after appearing in 13 games and hitting .154 for the San Diego Padres last year. After getting traded early in the offseason as part of the package in exchange for Minor Leaguer Alex Dickerson, Decker has batted .238 at Indy. He was hitless in three plate appearances with the Pirates.
Manager Clint Hurdle said before Thursday's game that the pending move did not come down to an either/or circumstance between Decker and Starling Marte, whose scheduled return from back tightness was unclear at the start of the series. Marte pinch-hit Wednesday in the eighth, stayed in the game and delivered a two-run double in Pittsburgh's 4-1 victory.
Marte was not, however, in the lineup Thursday.
Yankees: Beltran lands on disabled list
Carlos Beltran was unable to dodge a stint on the disabled list with a bone spur in his right elbow, but the Yankees outfielder is still hopeful that he will be able to avoid surgery.
Beltran started feeling discomfort in his elbow while swinging in the batting cage Monday, forcing the 37-year-old to take himself out of the Yankees' lineup after three at-bats against the Mets.
A cortisone injection has helped some, he said, but not to the point where he is able to resume swinging.
"I'm getting better, but not to the point where I can swing the bat 100 percent," Beltran said.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he did not believe Beltran would have been ready to play this weekend against the Pirates, so the team decided to make the DL move.
The Yankees are hoping that rest and anti-inflammatories will remedy the situation, but Beltran said that if his situation does not improve in two weeks, surgery would be on the table. Surgery to shave the spur would keep Beltran out for approximately six to eight weeks.
• The Yankees lead the all-time series against the Pirates, 7-2, and have never lost at home.
• Hiroki Kuroda and Vidal Nuno will start the Saturday and Sunday games, respectively, the Yankees announced Thursday. The Pirates will counter with righties Charlie Morton on Saturday and Gerrit Cole on Sunday.
Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.