Pirates call up right-handed pitcher Irwin from AAA

The Pirates today called up right-hander Phil Irwin from Class AAA Indianapolis to add a fresh arm to a bullpen that worked 7 2/3 innings during Monday's 13-inning game.

Irwin took the roster spot of Jeff Locke, who was optioned to Indianapolis after making a spot start in Monday's game.

Vin Mazzaro is the only Pirates reliever who did not pitch Monday night. Jeanmar Gomez is unavailable tonight after pitching three innings, and Tony Watson, who pitched 1 2/3 innings, might not be available either. Jared Hughes has pitched in consecutive games, including a two-inning stint Sunday, so he also might not be available.

The Pirates can carry eight relievers, as they currently have, for a while because of three scheduled days off in the next three weeks. They won't need a fifth starter for some time.

Irwin, 27, moved to the Indianapolis bullpen for his most recent five outings after making two starts. He allowed 11 runs in six innings combined during his two starts but has been better since joining the bullpen. In 12 innings in relief, Irwin has allowed seven runs, five of them in a disastrous outing that lasted two-thirds of an inning. He has not allowed a run in his past two appearances, a span of 5 2/3 innings.

Irwin made his major-league debut last April, but felt pain in his elbow afterward. He tried to return to the mound but eventually had surgery to move the ulnar nerve in his right elbow.

The Pirates selected Irwin in the 21st round of the 2009 draft.

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