Pirates notebook: Brandon Cumpton gets call to start today vs. Mets
May 25, 2014 10:15 PM
Brandon Cumpton gets the nod to start today for the Pirates now that Wandy Rodriguez is no longer with the team.
By Paul Zeise / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Pirates announced that right-handed pitcher Brandon Cumpton will be recalled from Class AAA Indianapolis to make his third start of the season today against the New York Mets.
It is not a surprise that Cumpton (0-1), not Jeff Locke, got the call as today was Cumpton's day to pitch for Indianapolis while Locke pitched Thursday and would have had to come back on short rest.
General manager Neal Huntington wouldn't commit to Cumpton having an opportunity to join the rotation because he said there are still some others -- including Locke -- in the minors who are in the mix for that permanent spot.
"Our challenge is that we have two guys we like a lot and feel could very easily fill that role in Jeff Locke and Brandon Cumpton," Huntington said. "And we feel very comfortable with a couple of other guys in Casey Sadler and now Vance Worley is putting himself in that conversation, so we have some depth and we have some options.
"We absolutely do not want Brandon looking over his shoulder but at the same time, we want Jeff Locke to fully realize he is still in our plans and we are going to need him at some point. Brandon has done some things to earn this opportunity and Jeff has done some things to earn this opportunity."
Worley coming along
Worley, acquired in March in a trade with Minnesota, is an intriguing prospect. He had a stretch of success in the majors in 2010 and 2011 with Philadelphia before having surgery and has since bounced around between the majors and minors.
He was the Twins' opening day starter last season but was 1-5 with a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts and was sent to Class AAA where he continued to struggle.
Overall, he is 19-18 and with a 4.05 ERA in the majors, and Huntington believes he is starting to show some signs that he is ready to get his career back on track.
"You never have enough starting pitching and that is the challenge," Huntington said. "Vance struggled his last time out, but before that we had seen his velocity come back and the sharpness and shortness to his cutter come back and his secondary stuff has been solid.
"Our guys have been very pleased with his development. His confidence is back, his aggressiveness is back. So there are a lot of positive signs. Can he continue and make that jump back to the guy he was in Philadelphia? Sometimes changes in scenery are wonderful for players."
Worley has made four starts for Indianapolis and is 1-1 with a 4.32 ERA. He has allowed 27 hits and 13 runs (12 earned) and has struck out 17 and walked only one in 25 innings.
Pitch for Hope
The Pirates had their fourth annual "Pitch for Hope" baseball clinic for women at PNC Park before the game.
Manager Clint Hurdle, the coaching staff and selected players participate in an on-field clinic for women. The event raises money for the breast cancer research organization "Glimmer of Hope."
"You get to see a different fan base, a completely different fan base," Hurdle said. "It is 300 women; there isn't any other place I am going to go and see 300 women on a Sunday morning. Maybe at church, but they are broken up, and these are all Pirates fans.
"It is a short time to engage them and watch them have some fun. It is really cool, and there are a lot of cancer survivors out there which makes it significant in a lot of ways."
Reliever Stolmy Pimentel was placed on the disabled list May 4 (retroactive to May 2) with right shoulder inflammation, but Huntington said he is on a good track in his rehab.
"He is in Florida right now to begin the competitive portion of his pitch program," Huntington said. "He will face extended hitters and get built up that way and then we will see what the next steps are. He is coming along great, he is feeling great and healthy, and now we are trying to get him built back up and stretched back out."
Paul Zeise: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1720 and Twitter @paulzeise.
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