CINCINNATI -- The Pirates added to their bullpen Monday before beginning their series against the Cincinnati Reds, and in doing so designated a former All-Star for assignment.
The Pirates called up pitchers Bryan Morris and Rick van den Hurk from Class AAA Indianapolis, in addition to Chase d'Arnaud, before a game Monday at Great American Ballpark. To make room on the 40-man roster for van den Hurk, the Pirates designated Evan Meek for assignment.
Van den Hurk, 27, a right-hander, went 13-5 in 21 games, 19 starts, and had a 2.92 ERA. The Pirates signed him as a minor league free agent in April. He previously appeared in the majors with the Baltimore Orioles in 2011, when he allowed eight earned runs in nine innings over four games.
Van den Hurk said he threw his off-speed pitches for strikes more often this season, which improved the effectiveness of his fastball, and made a slight change to his delivery that improved his control.
"With that I was able to throw more strikes and it would carry over to the games," van den Hurk said. "I was able to attack hitters differently."
Van den Hurk allowed eight earned runs over 382/3 August innings. He was named Indianapolis' most valuable player. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said he will use van den Hurk as a long reliever for the time being.
The Orioles released van den Hurk in February. He then signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, but the Cleveland Indians claimed him off waivers in March. The Indians designated him for assignment later in the month and he elected free agency in April before the Pirates signed him.
D'Arnaud hit .252 with six home runs for Indianapolis this season, but led the Indians with 34 stolen bases while being caught only five times. He could provide the Pirates with speed as a pinch-runner in the final month of the season.
"He has been one of our best base-stealers in our system," Hurdle said. "He showed that skill when he was up with us last year. Very daring, didn't seem to have any fear, good breaks, good reads, good instincts out there. We would definitely use him off the bench to pinch-run when appropriate."
"I know what my job is," d'Arnaud said. "I just want to get in there and contribute, help the team. Be alert, know the situation. I definitely have to be paying attention to the game in order to get a feel for what's going on."
D'Arnaud, 25, played mostly shortstop for Indianapolis this season.
Morris, 25, a right-hander, had a 2.67 ERA in 46 relief appearances with Indianapolis this season. He struck out 79 in 81 innings.
Meek bounced between the Pirates and the minors this season but never fully recovered his 2010 All-Star form after battling injury last year. He struck out 41 and walked 26 in 46 innings with Indianapolis. In 12 innings with the Pirates, Meek allowed nine runs and walked six.
The Pirates have 10 days to trade Meek. If he clears waivers, they can release him or send him outright to the minors.
Reds outfielder Jay Bruce was named the National League co-player of the week Monday along with Miami Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco. In six games last week, Bruce went 11 for 22 with four home runs, two doubles and a triple.