Andrew Lambo did nothing to deserve to get sent back to the minor leagues, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said.
But Lambo fell victim to the Pirates' need for bullpen help Sunday and was optioned back to Class AAA Indianapolis. It probably won't be long before Lambo is back in the majors.
"We'll probably look to get him back here sooner than later," Huntington said.
Lambo was sent down to make room on the active roster for reliever Kris Johnson. The Pirates transferred catcher Michael McKenry from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Johnson on the 40-man roster.
Since he was selected Tuesday, Lambo went 1 for 9 with an RBI double. He also struggled at times defensively in right field, particularly Thursday at Busch Stadium where he misplayed a couple balls hit into the right-field corner.
Huntington said the Pirates optioned Lambo instead of Josh Harrison because, with a short bench, Harrison provides more defensive flexibility.
The Pirates will have to wait at least 10 days before recalling Lambo, unless the team sends a player to the disabled list. Even if they wait 10 days, Lambo will be eligible for recall before the Aug. 31 deadline to set playoff rosters.
A lock to start Thursday
Jeff Locke, who allowed eight earned runs in 22/3 innings Saturday, his third rough outing in his past four starts, will "absolutely" make his next scheduled start Thursday in San Francisco, Huntington said.
Locke had a 2.15 ERA before the All-Star break, and has a 5.58 ERA since.
"It's normal" for a pitcher to experience this type of adversity, Huntington said.
Locke, who has thrown more innings than any Pirates pitcher this year (1392/3), could get a breather later in the season so the Pirates can ensure he is available for the postseason.
"Now's not the time," Huntington said. "We're confident Jeff's going to make us an adjustment and come out and give this team a chance to win not only his next start but for the rest of the season and hopefully deep into October."
A benches-clearing brawl that, according to media reports, started with one of the Pirates' minor league managers Saturday is now under review by the front office.
According to reports, Frank Kremblas, who manages the Pirates Class A affiliate in Bradenton, and Fort Myers manager Doug Mientkiewicz started to fight behind home plate after one of Kremblas' players was hit by a pitch.
Once Kremblas and Mientkiewicz started fighting, the benches cleared.
"We're still in the process of gathering information," Huntington said. "We want to make sure we get all sides of the story. There are typically two sides to every story -- our's and their's. And the truth is probably somewhere in between."
Huntington said he anticipates the Florida State League will review the incident.
The Pirates acquired minor league pitcher Doug Mathis from Miami for cash or a player to be named later, the team announced.
Mathis, who was assigned to Indianapolis, is a right-handed pitcher who went 5-8 with a 3.85 ERA in 24 appearances, 21 of them starts, for Class AAA New Orleans this season.
He has a 4.84 ERA in 45 major league appearances, most of them in relief.
Michael Sanserino: email@example.com, 412-263-1722 and Twitter @msanserino. First Published August 19, 2013 4:00 AM