MIAMI — Although the Pirates have not announced who will start Sunday against the Miami Marlins, recent actions give an indication of what they might do.
Class AAA Indianapolis starter Vance Worley, the likely candidate, was scratched from his scheduled start Friday. The organization promoted right-hander Nick Kingham from Class AA Altoona to Indianapolis to take Worley’s spot.
Manager Clint Hurdle said the Pirates had not decided on who will start Sunday, an opening created when Francisco Liriano went on the disabled list because of a strained left oblique. Hurdle said the right-handed Worley was a candidate, as was right-hander Stolmy Pimentel.
Choosing Pimentel would mean starting a pitcher who has yet to throw since coming off the DL because of shoulder inflammation and whose longest outing this season, four innings, came April 2. Pimentel most recently threw three innings in a rehabilitation start June 6.
The Pirates could go with right-hander Jay Jackson or left-hander Adam Wilk, who are scheduled to start today and Sunday for Indianapolis, but then there would be no need to pull Worley from his start.
Worley, 26, was acquired from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for cash near the end of spring training. He has struck out 43 batters and walked four in 46 innings this season at Indianapolis. In his most recent start, he allowed two runs in eight innings and struck out seven.
As a 23-year-old in 2011, Worley compiled a 3.01 ERA in 1312⁄3 innings with the Philadelphia Phillies and finished third voting for the National League rookie of the year.
Worley is not on the 40-man roster but the Pirates have an open spot.
Hurdle had previously identified right-hander Casey Sadler as a possibility to start Sunday, but Sadler went back to Indianapolis to make room for infielder Michael Martinez.
Baseball America ranked Kingham, 22, as the No. 5 prospect in the Pirates’ minor league system. His best season thus far was 2013, when he struck out 144 in 1431⁄3 innings and had a 2.89 ERA between Class A Bradenton and Altoona. In 12 starts for Altoona this season, Kingham had a 3.04 ERA, though his strikeout rate has declined and his walk rate has increased slightly.
Cole set to take another step
Gerrit Cole is scheduled to throw a side session Sunday.
Cole, who is on the 15-day DL because of what the team has called shoulder fatigue, threw a bullpen session Thursday.
“I think that we’re taking the steps we need to take when we need to take them to get him back in a compete-to-pitch situation,” Hurdle said.
Harrison hurt, Martinez starts
Josh Harrison did not start for the second consecutive game after turning his left ankle Wednesday.
That meant Martinez, who was a non-roster invitee this spring, made his Pirates debut Friday. Martinez batted eighth and played second base.
Martinez, 31, spent parts of three seasons in the majors with the Phillies. The switch-hitter hit .229 with a .279 on-base percentage in 243 plate appearances with Indianapolis this season.
Bill Brink: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @BrinkPG.