The Pirates activated relief pitcher Hisanori Takahashi, who was acquired off waivers from the Los Angeles Angles Friday, on the 25-man roster Sunday.
Relief pitcher Chad Qualls (irritated left big toe) was placed on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to Aug. 25.
Neal Huntington said before the Pirates-Brewers game Sunday that Qualls has had the toe injury for quite some time and that shutting him down for a short period seemed to be the best option.
"We need 25 healthy guys," he said. "It is impacting him and we made the move. We will get him healthy, get him back out there and he can come back and help us in September."
Qualls has appeared in nine games for the Pirates since being acquired from the New York Yankees on July 31 in a trade for Casey McGehee. He has pitched 72/3 innings and has given up eight hits and six earned runs.
Jeff Karstens and Jose Tabata passed clinical and on-field exams Sunday and neither will need to go on the disabled list or miss significant time.
Huntington said that Tabata could have started Sunday, but manager Clint Hurdle made the decision to take a cautious approach and gave him the day off.
Karstens could miss his next start, but Huntington is confident he will be back in the rotation quickly.
"I think it is a little bit longer time period and we have a little bit more leeway [because Karstens isn't scheduled to start until the end of the week]," Huntington said. "It looks like Jeff is going to be OK. It certainly feels less irritated than when he had to miss a start when he was coming back from his rehab but we will know a lot more when he has to go throw. We have some flexibility with the off day [Thursday] and certainly Kevin [Correia] could step in and start if we need him."
Takahashi had a 0-3 record with a 4.93 ERA before he was placed on waivers by the Angels, but Huntington said that he was an attractive option to the Pirates because he is still an effective reliever.
"We have talked a lot about ERA being a poor measure of a reliever's performance," Huntington said. "And in Takahashi's case, we fully believe it is a bad measure of his performance. If you look at his WHIP, his walks and hits per innings pitched, it is actually better than what he had when he had much better years ERA-wise in 2010 and 2011. We still see stuff that can get major league hitters out."
Huntington said that the team will have to be thoughtful about who to bring up on Sept. 1 when rosters expand from 25 to 40. "We want to make decisions based on who can help us win," he said. ... One player who will not be on the 40-man roster is catcher Tony Sanchez. "Tony had a very good developmental year, but I would not expect Tony to be [called up and placed on the 40-man roster]." ... The Pirates have a three-game home series that starts tonight against St. Louis, who they trail by two games for a wild-card spot. "It will be an exciting series, just like the series in St. Louis [last week] was exciting series," Huntington said.