Pirates notebook: Bryan Morris traded to Marlins for draft pick



LOS ANGELES -- The Pirates traded right-handed reliever Bryan Morris to the Miami Marlins Sunday in exchange for Miami's 39th overall selection Thursday in the first-year player draft.

The Pirates will have 42 picks in the draft, including four of the first 73, with Nos. 24, 39, 64 and 73.

Morris had developed into an intriguing reliever with the Pirates, and projected as a back end of the bullpen option since being acquired in 2008 from the Dodgers.

"It's been rewarding to watch his maturity since to come on the way that he has. And the stuff that he has," general manager Neal Huntington said. "It was not an easy decision but we thought it was the right decision for us as we continue to keep this thing rolling forward."

Huntington said the deal ultimately allows the club flexibility to add a high-end prospect to the system who could come into play as a major leaguer one day, or serve as a trade chip.

"Felt this was a good opportunity to turn a good major league player now into a future major league player that may have a bigger impact," Huntington said. "Maybe allows to be a little more aggressive with a prospect-type trade this July if we're in position. ... For us our farm system is our lifeblood to continue to be successful. Whether it's directly on our major league team or to acquire a trade."

Morris had added a two-seam fastball to his arsenal this spring, but struggled with command of late.

He gave up 25 hits, 11 runs and 12 walks in 232/3 innings pitched for the Pirates this season.

The Pirates were in the midst of helping him veer back on course.

"Morris was a little bit in between roles," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We were trying to get him multiple innings so he could throw pitches. He lost some traction, [but is a] good young pitcher, arm, a guy you can project. There's no telling where it might end up."

Hurdle said Morris was fine when he threw with normal effort, but seemed to run into trouble when he added heat.

"I don't know if you ever know what makes 'em veer off. I look for body language, tension in the grip, I look for the landing," Hurdle said. "That extra added maximum effort was sometimes yanking pitches, bouncing pitches. You saw how many times the command had gotten a little bit crazy the last couple weeks."

His breaking ball and two-seamer were playing well in the early weeks of the season, and his velocity was up.

"He's a guy that has excellent natural movement when he just pitches when he falls into throwing," Hurdle said. "I saw him and his wife [Sunday morning] and told him, 'Just go play. You don't have to add a whole lot. Just go play and go pitch.' This is a good opportunity for him, another one. Because he helped us here."

Huntington said the club was not actively shopping Morris.

"We weren't looking to move him. Miami expressed interest. The deal came together and we made it," Huntington said. "I guess there's always the fear of what if? What might we have been able to get elsewhere?"

Casey Sadler was recalled from Class AAA Indianapolis to take Morris' spot in the bullpen and on the 25-man roster.

Sadler will not be an option for the starting rotation right now, Huntington said, but serve as a short or longer reliever.

"He's pitched out of the pen before as an amateur, as a professional," Huntington said. "We feel comfortable with Casey coming in, whether it's one out or multiple innings. He has a nice opportunity to show what he can do here and give Clint some flexibility and versatility."

Pitcher claimed

The Pirates claimed right-handed pitcher Wirfin Obispo off waivers from Atlanta and optioned him to Indianapolis. He has no prior big league experience. Obispo, 29, is a native of the Dominican Republic, and spent 2007, and 2009-11 pitching in Japan.

Pimentel update

Stolmy Pimentel (shoulder) pitched an extended spring inning game Friday and will pitch a two-inning simulated game today.

Hurdle said his return recovery is going well and he's suffered no setbacks.

Jenn Menendez: jmenendez@post-gazette.com and Twitter @JennMenendez.


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