The shakedown of the Pirates' pitching carousel: Ian Snell went to the 15-day disabled list, Jimmy Barthmaier was promoted from Class AAA Indianapolis to make his major league debut tonight, Ty Taubenheim will make that same trip tomorrow, and T.J. Beam was sent back to the minors.
Taking it one at a time ...
Management reversed course on a plan to have Snell rejoin the rotation next week, opting to provide extra time for his elbow inflammation to subside and, more important, stay subsided.
"It would go away, but it flares up after I pitch," Snell said. "I think this is a good move. It will let me get back to where I need to be."
Snell's placement on the disabled list, which cleared space for new reliever Denny Bautista, was retroactive to Monday. That makes him eligible to return July 8 and, according to manager John Russell, he will pitch that day. In the meantime, Snell will stay away from throwing "for a few days," Russell said, before building up to July 8.
The Barthmaier promotion was announced after the game last night, as was the optioning of Beam. Brought up earlier in the week, Beam gave up five runs in two relief appearances.
INDIANAPOLIS (39-42) lost to Buffalo, 7-3. RHP Jason Davis (4-8, 5.07) allowed five runs, five hits and three walks in lasting one inning. DH Craig Wilson (.225) hit his ninth home run and went 1 for 3. RF Steve Pearce (.266) and 3B Neil Walker (.220) each went 0 for 4.
ALTOONA (33-44) lost at Binghamton, 4-1. RHP Derek Hankins (1-4, 3.68) allowed three runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. 1B Jason Delaney (.296) hit his sixth home run and went 1 for 4.
LYNCHBURG (32-45) beat Winston Salem, 4-3. RHP Mike Crotta (6-5, 5.65) allowed two runs and seven hits in six innings. RF Jamie Romak (.296) hit his 12th home run and went 1 for 3 with a walk.
HICKORY (33-45) lost at Asheville, 7-1. RHP Brad Lincoln (4-3, 3.65) allowed seven runs, five earned, and eight hits in five innings. He struck out five, walked none and hit a batter. SS Jordy Mercer (.500), in his Hickory debut after being promoted from State College, went 2 for 4 with a double.
STATE COLLEGE (3-6) won at Auburn, 9-5. RHP Kyle McPherson (1-0, 1.80) allowed one run and four hits in six innings. 3B Matt Payne (.313) went 2 for 4 with a walk and two RBIs.
BRADENTON (3-3) beat the Red Sox, 4-1. RHP Ricardo Paulino (0-1, 3.12) pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings and allowed three hits. SS Jarek Cunningham (.600) went 2 for 3 with a triple and a walk.
The road map for the rotation until Snell's return requires only one other start out of the two weekend callups, and that will be made by Barthmaier Wednesday in Cincinnati. The other vacancy will be filled July 5 with Phil Dumatrait's return. That means Taubenheim, whose promotion will be announced after the game tonight, will make just one start tomorrow and either be returned to Indianapolis or remain in long relief.
Early indications had been that the choice tomorrow would be John Van Benschoten, but the shoulder stiffness that limited him in his past two starts turned management toward Taubenheim.
Taubenheim, a 25-year-old right-hander, is a six-year professional who made 13 appearances for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2006-07. In 16 starts for Indianapolis, he is 4-9 with a 4.60 ERA, with his past four starts being his best.
No interest in Chacon
The Pirates have no interest in bringing back pitcher Shawn Chacon, who two days ago was suspended indefinitely by Houston for grabbing Astros general manager Ed Wade by the throat and throwing him to the ground.
Bautista seeks control
Bautista shrugged off concerns about his long-standing control issues, pointing out that he walked few batters in the spring and early April until his right shoulder tendinitis began.
"I know I can throw strikes when I'm feeling good," he said. "And I'm feeling good right now."
He was feeling good about finding friends, too, including third baseman Jose Bautista (no relation), Luis Rivas, Damaso Marte and bullpen coach Luis Dorante, all familiar from Dominican ball.
"I am so happy to be here," Bautista said. "I've heard a lot of good things about this team."
• Yoslan Herrera, the Cuban pitcher who has fared well of late for Class AA Altoona, will be promoted to Indianapolis tonight in a spot start to take Barthmaier's place.
• Indianapolis outfielder Andrew McCutchen was the Pirates' lone selection for the All-Star Futures Game, July 13 at Yankee Stadium. Indianapolis manager Trent Jewett called McCutchen "very deserving." He is batting .281 with eight home runs, 31 RBIs and 21 steals. It is the first year the Pirates have had just one representative since 2000.
• Shortstop Jack Wilson, bugged by those two errors Wednesday, was on the field early taking grounders from infield instructor Tony Beasley. Most focus was on the spinning play in center field that resulted in a key Derek Jeter single the previous night.
• The Pirates promoted three key prospects: Catcher Steve Lerud went from Class A Lynchburg to Altoona after batting .256 with eight home runs for the Hillcats. First baseman Miles Durham, who is batting .348 with 14 home runs, went from low Class A Hickory to Lynchburg. Shortstop Jordy Mercer, the third-round draft pick this month, was moved from short-season State College to Hickory, largely to separate him and another shortstop prospect, fourth-rounder Chase D'Arnaud, who will stay with the Spikes.