With a heavily taxed bullpen, the Pirates promoted right-handed pitcher Vin Mazzaro from Class AAA Indianapolis Tuesday and optioned right-handed reliever Bryan Morris back to Indianapolis. Mazzaro takes the 40-man roster spot vacated when the Pirates designated reliever Chris Leroux for assignment.
Morris threw three scoreless innings for the Pirates Monday and would not have been available out of the bullpen for at least a couple games.
Most of Mazzaro's major league experience is as a starter, but he said he has grown comfortable to a reliever's role this spring and with Indianapolis.
"The big thing was recovery and pitching back-to-back days," he said. "I didn't have any problem with that."
Mazzaro did not allow a run in seven innings of work with Indianapolis spread across three games. He struck out nine batters and walked one.
Game rained out
The game Tuesday between the Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals was postponed because of heavy rain. No makeup date has been announced.
The rain delay started at 7:50 p.m. when a strong thunderstorm hit PNC Park. Steady rain continued for 11/2 hours.
Fans with tickets to Tuesday's game can exchange them for any home regular-season game except for games on Sunday.
The Pirates led, 4-2, after two innings. The rainout gives the bullpen a chance to rest after a stretch of heavy usage.
Entering the game, the eight position players were 46 for 123, or .374, lifetime against Cardinals starter Jake Westbrook, who was 1-7 in 13 games -- nine starts -- against the Pirates. In the first inning, the Pirates had five consecutive singles and scored four times with the help of two errors.
Garrett Jones and Neil Walker had run-scoring singles and Pedro Alvarez, who entered the game hitting .073 and on an 0-for-8 streak, drove home another.
Russell Martin grounded to Westbrook, who threw to second base to start a double play, but neither shortstop Pete Kozma or second baseman Matt Carpenter reached the bag in time and the throw bounced into center field. Another run scored, giving the Pirates a 4-2 lead.
Jonathan Sanchez, trying to rebound from a poor outing against the Arizona Diamondbacks in his previous start, spotted the Cardinals two early runs. He walked the leadoff man on four pitches and allowed consecutive singles, with Matt Holliday's hit scoring a run. Yadier Molina's groundout drove in another run.
Burnett nears elite group
A.J. Burnett enters his start tonight needing two strikeouts to reach 2,000 in his career. Sixty-seven pitchers in history have recorded at least 2,000 major league strikeouts.
"That's a lot of Ks," Burnett said. "That just shows you how good the guys are that have 3,000. I've been around a long time, and I'm just sniffing 2,000."
Only 16 pitchers have thrown 3,000 or more career strikeouts. Four have thrown more than 4,000, and Nolan Ryan is the only one to eclipse the 5,000 strikeout mark (5,714).
Burnett has 205 strikeouts for the Pirates in the past two years of his 15-year career.
"I hope there's a lot more Ks to come after that," he said.