The Pirates placed opening-day starter Francisco Liriano on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday because of a strained left oblique, further thinning their starting rotation.
Liriano joined Gerrit Cole on the DL, and with the departure of Wandy Rodriguez last month, it leaves only Charlie Morton and Edinson Volquez intact from the opening-day rotation. Brandon Cumpton and Jeff Locke recently joined the rotation from Class AAA Indianapolis, but the Pirates still need a starter for the game Sunday against the Miami Marlins.
Liriano strained the oblique on a fourth-inning pitch Tuesday night against the Chicago Cubs. The Pirates activated right-hander Stolmy Pimentel, who was on the DL because of shoulder inflammation, to take Liriano's roster spot.
Pimentel was scheduled for another rehabilitation outing of four innings or 65 pitches Wednesday, manager Clint Hurdle said, but the Pirates activated him instead after the bullpen worked six innings Tuesday night. Hurdle said the Pirates have considered moving Pimentel, a starter most of his minor league career but a reliever in the majors, back into a starting role.
"He's been a starter, so he's the guy that we did talk about moving forward to have in our pitching posse to consider as a rotational option for 2015, if not at some point in time this season," Hurdle said.
Pimentel is out of minor league options, so the Pirates put him on the roster as a reliever at the end of spring training.
The Pirates will consider Pimentel and right-hander Casey Sadler, Hurdle said, for the Sunday start in Miami in addition to their options at Class AAA Indianapolis. Sadler pitched 22/3 innings and allowed four runs Tuesday and started in the minors the past two seasons.
Left-hander Adam Wilk and right-handers Jay Jackson and Vance Worley are options at Indianapolis. Wilk started Tuesday, lining him up to pitch Sunday on regular rest. Worley is scheduled to pitch Friday, Jackson Saturday. None of them are on the 40-man roster.
Pimentel went on the DL May 4. He made two rehab outings, starting one of them. The most recent outing came Friday for Class AA Altoona, when he started and pitched three scoreless innings. He said the Pirates have not mentioned the possibility of starting to him.
"I don't know later in the season what can happen, I can't control that," Pimentel said. "Right now, I'm going to be in the bullpen."
Hurdle on NL All-Star staff
National League All-Star manager Mike Matheny selected Hurdle as a member of the NL coaching staff for the All-Star Game July 15 at Target Field in Minneapolis.
"I'm really excited about going," Hurdle said. "You never know when you get to go to your last one. I'd like to manage one more. That being said, that's not something that 'No' never even came across, or 'Let me get back to you."
Hurdle managed the 2008 All-Star game at Yankee Stadium after leading the Colorado Rockies to the 2007 World Series. He also served on the 2004 NL staff under Jack McKeon.
Cole, on the DL because of shoulder fatigue, played catch Wednesday. Hurdle said Cole is tentatively scheduled to throw a bullpen session Friday.
The Pirates announced the signings of five draft picks Wednesday, including fifth-round outfielder Michael Suchy.
Sixth-round right-handed pitcher Tyler Eppler, 10th-round right-handed pitcher Alex McRae, 12th-round infielder Tyler Filliben and 15th-round right-handed pitcher Eric Dorsch also signed.
First-round pick Cole Tucker said Wednesday via Twitter that he had arrived in Pittsburgh and multiple reports indicate he has agreed to a bonus. He could sign as early as today. High school right-handed pitcher Mitch Keller, the second-round pick, told the Des Moines Register he had agreed to terms on a bonus and planned to sign Friday.
Bill Brink: email@example.com and Twitter @BrinkPG.