PITTSBURGH (AP) -Pirates left fielder Jason Bay, stuck in a monthlong slump, didn't start Saturday night for the first time this season.
Bay, the only player to appear in Pittsburgh's first 79 games, was hitting .314 at the start of June but was down to .266 by Saturday. He has homered only once in 19 games and was 13-for-86 (.151) in his 23 most recent starts.
``It's important he gets a day off, I'm hopeful it will do him some good and we can get him back to swinging the bat the way he was swinging it before he went into this lull,'' manager Jim Tracy said.
The right-handed hitting Bay got the night off against Nationals right-hander Jason Bergmann, but is expected to start Sunday against left-hander Mike Bacsik.
``It's very difficult to sit here at this desk and not write his name in the lineup against a left-handed starter,'' Tracy said.
Bay, an All-Star game starter last season in Pittsburgh, played 159 of 162 games in 2006 after playing in all 162 games in 2005.
Tracy also said left-hander Zach Duke, coming off another poor outing, will miss his scheduled start Tuesday against Milwaukee because of tightness in his left elbow. Duke, the Pirates' opening-day starter, is scheduled to throw on the sideline Sunday after being given anti-inflammatory medication for tendinitis.
``We'll see how he responds,'' Tracy said. ``The tendinitis is creating the tightness, and if it doesn't subside then we've got to move on and do further testing. If he does feel a difference when he throws, then obviously we can continue to progress and see where he's at as we go through another week.''
If Duke has no setbacks, he could start July 8 at home against the Cubs or he might be held out until after the All-Star break.
``I'm going out tomorrow and try to toss and see how it feels,'' Duke said Saturday. ``Right now, I'm just looking to miss one start.''
Duke (3-7, 5.79 ERA) has allowed five runs or more in six of his last eight starts, never lasting more than six innings in any of the eight. He gave up six runs and 12 hits in four innings of a 9-7 loss to Florida on Thursday, and his 141 hits allowed are easily the most in the majors.
Tracy didn't announce who would start Tuesday against the Brewers, through right-hander Shawn Chacon (4-1, 3.94 ERA) is a possibility.
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