Pirates call up 2 Indianapolis pitchers
Pedro Alvarez drills a home run off St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Barret Browning that gave the Pirates the lead and eventually the win Sunday in a 19-inning marathon at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
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SAN DIEGO -- Kyle McPherson was lying in bed watching TV late Sunday night when he got a call from Class AAA Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor.
"Get dressed and get out of bed and come down to the lobby," Treanor told McPherson. "We need to talk."
That phone call came as part of a series of roster moves the Pirates made Monday to fortify their pitching staff after playing 19 innings Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals. They called up McPherson and Justin Wilson from Indianapolis, placed Jordy Mercer on the paternity list and designated right-hander Juan Cruz for assignment.
Wilson, a left-hander, and McPherson, a right-hander, will make their major league debuts when they appear in a game. They provided insurance behind Kevin Correia, who started Monday night against the San Diego Padres despite pitching two innings of relief Sunday. Manager Clint Hurdle said Correia could throw in the neighborhood of 75 pitches.
"Kevin's stepping up for the team," said Hurdle, who noted that Correia said Sunday he could give the Pirates some innings Monday night if need be.
Wilson, who turned 25 Saturday, had a 3.84 ERA in 25 starts for Indianapolis this season. He pitched a rain-shortened no-hitter and was involved in another combined one. He struck out 130 batters in 131 1/3 innings this season.
"Just was told to be ready if my name's called," he said of what he was told of his role. "From there, that's all I know."
McPherson, 24, was the Pirates' minor league pitcher of the year in 2011 but started this season on the disabled list due to shoulder inflammation. He returned to make nine starts for Class AA Altoona and recently made two starts for Indianapolis, allowing two runs in 11 1/3 innings.
"I just established the fastball," McPherson said of his previous two starts. "Getting into counts where I had the opportunity to put hitters away and do it in the least amount of pitches possible. Keep it simple and try to go deep in the game."
Opponents hit .316 off Cruz in 4 2/3 innings in August after he came off the disabled list.
"I just think that at this point in time, we've got some young men that have passed him," Hurdle said. "We've also got some guys that are going to come up in September that are going to need to be added to the 40-man roster that I think we feel are probably going to be just a little bit ahead of him."
The Pirates have two open spots on the 40-man roster.
Neil Walker returned to the starting lineup Monday for the first time since his right pinky finger was dislocated Wednesday. He pinch-hit Sunday.
"I feel confident with the soreness and stuff that it's not as bad as it was a couple days ago," he said.
Swinging left-handed and gripping the bat during the follow-through continues to pose a challenge, but he said defense did not present as much of a problem.
Hurdle said Chad Qualls, who is on the bereavement list because of an illness in the family, plans to fly to San Diego and join the team today. ... Wandy Rodriguez, who pitched two innings of relief Sunday, will start Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers at PNC Park.
First Published August 21, 2012 12:00 am