Karstens added to roster; Morris optioned
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PHILADELPHIA -- The Pirates made one of their two necessary roster moves official Monday before a game against Philadelphia by adding Jeff Karstens, who started against the Phillies.
They recalled Karstens from his rehabilitation assignment and activated him from the disabled list.
To clear a spot on the roster, the Pirates optioned reliever Bryan Morris to Class AAA Indianapolis.
Morris joined the roster Sunday to help manager Clint Hurdle work with a bullpen without the services of two relievers and one more that was available in a limited capacity.
Morris, 25, a right-hander, had a 2.28 ERA in 23 relief appearances for Indianapolis this season. He had 44 strikeouts in 431/3 innings and a 1.06 WHIP (walks-plus-hits, divided by innings pitched), courtesy of only issuing 10 walks.
"I felt really good," he said. "There was a point late in April where I felt like something clicked in my mechanics. The fastball started going down in the zone a lot more consistently and started being a little easier to pitch."
The Pirates must make one more roster move when Drew Sutton joins the team today. The Pirates claimed Sutton off waivers Sunday from the Tampa Bay Rays.
Hurdle said Sutton spent a few days with his wife, who is pregnant, and would meet the Pirates this afternoon in Philadelphia.
The return of Karstens pushed Brad Lincoln to the bullpen, meaning the Pirates currently have eight relievers. General manager Neal Huntington said Sunday that the Pirates would remove a reliever when they added Sutton.
"That's still the plan," Hurdle said. "We've got one more game to look at how it plays out for us off the mound, but that's still plan A."
Hurdle said Lincoln, who started Saturday, will throw a side session today and be available out of the bullpen as early as Wednesday. Hurdle said the Pirates still consider Lincoln as an option if they need a starter in the future.
"There's a lot of experience to be gained by this by Brad," Hurdle said. "It's not an easy transition. A lot of guys can't do it. A lot of guys, you end up just saying, you know what, you make a decision, you send them back to the bullpen and close the door on it. That's why we wanted to continue to show the patience and give him another opportunity to extend that invitation. We feel that that's still a fit for him.
"We're going to need more than five starters. He's gained that experience of how he's best served going through that transition. He's done it. [He's learned] what caught him up, what slowed him down, what helped him."
Jared Hughes said he had recovered from his undisclosed "physical" issue and was available out of the bullpen Monday night.
Hughes would not say what the issue was, but said Sunday it was not his arm or shoulder.
"It was physical and now it's better," he said.
"This is just something that [Sunday] I had to be unavailable for but [Monday] I'm available."
Hughes threw long toss in the outfield at Citizens Bank Park and threw all his pitches in a brief bullpen session.
"Jared's fine," Hurdle said. "We just gave him two days down. Much better than he was two days ago. He just had a quick something come up on him. We're past it."
First Published June 26, 2012 12:00 am