The Pirates added a position player to their roster Monday, but it wasn't the one many expected it to be.
The team recalled outfielder Alex Presley from Class AAA Indianapolis and optioned right-handed pitcher Phil Irwin. The team kept veteran infielder Brandon Inge in Indianapolis on a rehabilitation assignment for a fractured right scapula (shoulder blade).
Manager Clint Hurdle said the Pirates would keep Inge in Indianapolis until April 24 when his rehabilitation stint expires. General manager Neal Huntington said Sunday that spring training almost served as a rehabilitation stint for Inge, who was recuperating from offseason shoulder surgery for an unrelated injury. This time in Indianapolis, they say, is serving as Inge's spring training.
"He's not pushing the envelope," Hurdle said. "He's getting good work down there and getting good results. The most important thing for Inge is to get back here and be ready to contribute. We don't need another guy playing catch-up here or trying to do too much."
Presley, 27, was hitting .357 with a .400 on-base percentage in seven games with Indianapolis after putting together a strong spring training, where he hit .304 with a .400 on-base percentage. But the Pirates opted to carry Jose Tabata and Travis Snider, both out of options.
"There's always a little frustration," Presley said. "But you do what you can and play well and believe things are going to open up for you, and that's what happened."
The Pirates were short one bench player after adding Irwin to the roster Sunday for a spot start. Hurdle said they added Presley, a left-handed hitter, in part because of all the right-handed pitching the Pirates will face in their upcoming stretch of games.
By replacing Irwin, Presley takes a roster spot from his former college teammate at the University of Mississippi.
"You don't like who it's necessarily for sometimes, but it's every man for himself when it comes to that kind of thing," Presley said.
By adding Presley, the Pirates have are heavy on bench options for the outfield. But Hurdle said they have "trick card in our back pocket" in catcher Russell Martin.
Entering Monday, Martin had made 15 career appearances at third base and one at second base. Hurdle moved Martin from catcher to third base in the sixth inning Monday
"Russell Martin could go to third base and play tonight if we needed," Hurdle said before the game.
Infielder John McDonald is the Pirates' emergency catcher.
Minor league pitcher Kyle McPherson will be shut down for two weeks as he deals with discomfort near his right elbow, the Pirates disclosed.
McPherson was placed on the seven-day minor league disabled list Saturday, and team medical director Dr. Patrick DeMeo observed McPherson Monday. McPherson received an injection meant to reduce the inflammation and will be reevaluated in two weeks.
Learn from stealing
There are a few players on the roster who have the discretion to run on the bases as they see fit. Hurdle hopes Snider, one of those players, learns after getting thrown out while trying to swipe third Sunday with Andrew McCutchen at the plate Sunday.
"The intent was good. The execution wasn't," Hurdle said. "You've got to be moving to steal third base. There's hardly anybody in this game that can steal third base from a flat position."