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Dodgers tab Zack Greinke to go for split on ESPN

Stephen Dunn

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers try to salvage a split of their weekend series against the Pirates on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, and will do so with Zack Greinke on the mound against old friend Edinson Volquez.

Greinke is 4-0 in five home starts this season and has struck out at least eight batters each time out, including a pair of 11-strikeout performances on April 23 against Philadelphia and last Tuesday against Cincinnati. Greinke has 46 strikeouts and six walks in 33⅔ innings at Dodger Stadium this season.

The normal ESPN Sunday television duo of Dan Shulman and John Kruk have the night off. Instead, ESPN will use a staff of seven strategically placed on-air talent on the broadcast.

Karl Ravech will call the play-by-play with Barry Larkin as analyst from traditional spots in their booth in the press box. They will be joined by Buster Olney, providing news and information from the press box; by Eric Wedge, who will talk strategy while sitting behind home plate; by Mark Mulder, who will talk pitching from the Pirates dugout; by Aaron Boone, who will talk offense from the Dodgers dugout; and by Doug Glanville, who will talk defense from the right field pavilion.

"We’ll look to bring viewers closer to the game through the vantage points of our Baseball Tonight experts, who will be strategically placed in positions where they can capture all of the storylines happening during a baseball game," said ESPN vice president of production Mike McQuade.

Volquez, who led the majors with 105 walks in 2012 and led the National League with 108 earned runs allowed in 2013, leads the NL with six wild pitches so far this year. The right-hander pitched the final month of the 2013 season with the Dodgers and even made their NLCS roster, though he didn't pitch in the series.

Volquez somehow parlayed a 5.71 ERA compiled mostly at Petco Park into a $5 million contract with Pittsburgh, and it looked like a steal in April, when he started off with a 1.93 ERA in his first six games, including five starts, with 20 strikeouts, eight walks and just one home run allowed. But in his last six starts Volquez has a 6.34 ERA with 22 strikeouts, 15 walks and a whopping nine home runs allowed in 32⅔ innings.

Andre Ethier is 6-for-16 (.375) with three doubles and five walks against Volquez, and Matt Kemp is 5-for-12 (.417) with a home run and two walks. Adrian Gonzalez is 4-for-12 (.333) with two home runs, and Chone Figgins is 4-for-8 (.500) with a home run that came in 2006.

Hanley Ramirez, who has hits in each of his last six at-bats including two home runs and a double, is 3-for-19 (.158) with a double and a walk in his career against Volquez. Ramirez has driven in at least one run in each of his last five trips to the plate.

Bucs roster move

The Pirates on Sunday traded Bryan Morris, who was sent by the Dodgers to Pittsburgh in the Manny Ramirez trade in 2008, to the Marlins for the 39th overall pick in this week's MLB Draft, a draft pick that is tradeable as part of the competitive balance rounds, the only picks allowed to be traded.

Pittsburgh called up starter Casey Sadler to take the open spot on the active roster. Sadler, who was 6-1 with a 2.66 ERA in eight starts with Triple-A Indianapolis, pitched four scoreless innings in relief for the Pirates earlier this year.

Game info

Time: 5:05 p.m.