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Pirates starter Jeff Karstens was fined an undisclosed amount of money by Major League Baseball for hitting the Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun with a pitch Monday at Miller Park, according to a team source, but Karstens will not be suspended.

Karstens was fined without having a hearing to tell his side, and he maintained yesterday that he did not intend to hit Braun.

"It came in and ran up," Karstens said of the pitch that hit Braun between the shoulder blades as he turned his back toward the mound. "No way I'm doing that with Prince Fielder on deck, and about four other guys who can hit the ball out of the park."

There was no word on whether Braun was punished for publicly vowing retribution against the Pirates the next day, including a warning to MLB commissioner Bud Selig to pay close attention to future meetings.

Russell on pitch counts

Pirates manager John Russell expanded on his decision to allow Ian Snell to throw 131 pitches -- most by any starter in the majors this season -- Wednesday.

"You look at a lot of factors, how the ball's coming out of his hand, whether he's starting to elevate, a lack of velocity, a lack of shape to the breaking ball. In Ian's case, he was doing very well, and you take all that into account," Russell said. "You look at how many 100-plus pitch games we've had already, our guys are doing a good job getting deep into games."

The starters have thrown 100 or more pitches eight times, 110 or more four times.

"We're not looking to let them pitch until they drop," Russell continued. "The season's a marathon. We'll adjust workloads between starts, and the extra days off that you get early certainly help. But we're going to give our starters a chance to win."

Buried treasure

* Center fielder Nate McLouth was back in the lineup after missing six games because of a strained right oblique. He and the team used a whirlpool, electrical stimulation and "pretty much anything we could find," McLouth said, to accelerate his return. A special batting practice early yesterday brought final clearance.

* The Pirates looked at video of Milwaukee pitcher Dave Bush's back-to-back plunking of Eric Hinske and Andy LaRoche Tuesday, and there is a general consensus that LaRoche was not hit on purpose, with Brewers catcher Jason Kendall having lined up well outside.

* Brandon Moss, owner of one RBI, was benched for the third time in the past six games, but Russell stressed that was because Hinske had a .478 career average against Cincinnati starter Bronson Arroyo. "Brandon's coming around," Russell said. "He's a big part of our offense, and we need to get him going."

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 2, 2009

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