Game 57: Pirates at Braves; Pirates shuffle pitching staff

This is being posted later than anticipated, so I’ll keep things brief. (Same goes for the game recap. My focus is on compiling reports of the draft prospects before Thursday.)

As reported last night by Jerry Crasnick and Ken Rosenthal, Ryan Reid and Jared Hughes have been added to the major league roster. Jeanmar Gomez was placed on the 15-day DL and Phil Irwin was moved to the 60-day DL to clear a spot on the 40-man for Reid. Alex Presley, who went 4-11 with a run scored in the weekend series against the Reds, has been demoted to Triple-A.

The Pirates now have nine guys in the bullpen, but a move will be made by Friday in order to replace Gomez in the rotation. Charlie Morton is the obvious candidate to fill the vacancy, but his mediocre results rehab starts make this more of an open competition than it should be.

On May 27, Morton tossed five innings in Indianapolis and gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks while striking out three. Yesterday, he went 4 2/3 innings and yielded three hits, four walks, a home run and two runs against four strikeouts.

Obviously the stats aren’t the most poignant part of rehab starts, and the goal is to regain the natural feel for his repertoire, but not even that seemed to happen for Morton. The 29-year-old righty walked seven in 9 2/3 innings in his last two outings. I would prefer to see him make at least one more start to gain confidence and try to experience some success (in Triple-A!) before coming to Pittsburgh. The Pirates could afford to use Andy Oliver, who last pitched May 29, in a spot start or perhaps work on stretching Vin Mazzaro out in side sessions before Friday.

Tonight, though, they’ll work with a bullpen that’s deep in numbers but on empty in terms of stamina.

A.J. Burnett faces Kris Medlen. Burnett could take advantage of a team that strikes out a ton, but he may try to avoid doing so in order to limit his pitch count and go deep into the game.

Andrew McCutchen gets the day off.


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