Indianapolis' Wilson switches to bullpen
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The Pirates are moving Class AAA Indianapolis left-hander Justin Wilson to the bullpen, manager Clint Hurdle said Tuesday, which could position him to contribute to the major league club before the end of the season.
Wilson made 23 starts for Indianapolis this season and had a 4.14 ERA in 1171/3 innings. He made nine relief appearances last season, also for Indianapolis. Hurdle said the move might allow Wilson to join the bullpen at some point this season and give the Pirates more versatility in relief.
"You get a left-hander like him with velocity, plus-velocity, to maybe give us a different look," Hurdle said.
Rosters expand Sept. 1, and Wilson already is on the 40-man roster.
"If somebody goes down, you've got to have a plan B, a plan C. Obviously, when you open up the gates in September, when you can add to the [active roster], you can add different looks and different options out of the bullpen to be as chaotic for the other team as you can be and resourceful to yourself," Hurdle said.
Trouble finding the strike zone has plagued Wilson, 24, in his four-year minor league career, both in the rotation and out of the bullpen. He has walked 4.8 batters per nine innings for the second consecutive season and has a 4.6 walks-per-nine career mark.
"Command is still his calling card," Hurdle said. "If that part of his game can be put under control, it can be special."
Wilson has struck out 121 batters this season, and his strikeouts per nine innings have increased by 21/2 from 2011.
The Pirates drafted Wilson in the fifth round in '08 out of Fresno State. Left-handers have hit .138 against him this season.
Kevin Correia, 31, has appeared in 128 games as a reliever in addition to making 150 starts. He said making a spot start tonight against the Arizona Diamondbacks will not throw him off.
"I've been around long enough, it's not going to change the way I'm going to go out there and pitch," Correia said. "I'm not going to go out there nervous."
Correia moved to the bullpen when the Pirates acquired Wandy Rodriguez in late July. He earned the win in six consecutive starts in which he received a decision before the move.
"I'm going to take it as a regular start and go out there and try to win it," he said. "I'm not going to look at it as anything different than that. I'm not going to put any added pressure, thinking, if I pitch well, I'm back in the rotation."
Correia has appeared in one game in relief, allowing four runs in two innings.
He said he did not warm up in the bullpen in the series at Cincinnati this past weekend and that he threw a bullpen session Sunday.
Hurdle said the Pirates will decide the next step for Juan Cruz, who is on the 15-day disabled list because of right shoulder inflammation, by today.
Cruz pitched a third of an inning in a rehabilitation outing for Class AA Altoona Monday night and allowed two runs on four hits, throwing 25 pitches.
Hurdle said Cruz's fastball ranged from 91 to 94 mph.
First Published August 8, 2012 12:00 am