Pirates Notebook: McCutchen next in roulette
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- All kinds of pitching moves for the Pirates before the game Thursday ...
In order, the team:
• Designated for assignment left-hander Dana Eveland after an awful showing since being acquired from Toronto June 1.
• Recalled relievers Justin Thomas and Steven Jackson from Class AAA Indianapolis, the left-hander Thomas essentially taking Eveland's place in the bullpen and the right-hander Jackson likely getting sent right back to Indianapolis after the game tonight in Oakland.
• Is expected to recall right-hander Daniel McCutchen to fill the rotation hole Saturday that was vacated by Zach Duke going on the disabled list.
Manager John Russell told Thomas and Jackson they would "compete" for the bullpen spot and that one will go back when McCutchen arrives.
Eveland was used in just three games -- one start -- over three-plus weeks, with an 8.38 ERA and 15 hits in 9 2/3 innings. General manager Neal Huntington had expressed hope when getting Eveland that he would represent an upgrade to the rotation, but he ended up being a downgrade to the bullpen, as he was not nearly as effective as recently released Jack Taschner, another left-hander.
"I didn't see the velocity I thought I'd see, or the sharpness in the breaking balls," Russell said.
The Pirates have 10 days to trade, waive or release Eveland, of which Huntington said, "We'll see. Obviously, we liked him enough to trade for him."
Eveland is not eligible to declare free agency if outrighted to the minors.
This is Jackson's second stint with the Pirates this season, in addition to a cameo May 28, but Thomas' promotion marks his first appearance since an eight-game debut with Seattle.
Thomas, 26, was dominant for Indianapolis, with a 1.30 ERA in 24 appearances, a .157 opponents' batting average, 34 strikeouts and just three walks.
"Just throwing strikes," Thomas said. "I worked off my fastball, and I threw my other pitches for strikes, too."
Those are a slider -- which comes from two different angles -- and changeup.
McCutchen appeared overmatched after making the team out of spring training, going 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA in four games before being demoted. In 10 starts with Indianapolis, he is 4-5 with a 3.86 ERA.
To acquire Eveland, the Pirates gave up relief prospect Ronald Uviedo off their 40-man roster. Uviedo, 22, had a 3.22 ERA in 16 appearances for Class AA Altoona. Toronto immediately converted him to starting, and he is 2-0 with a 4.29 ERA and a .203 opponents' average.
According to a team source, the Pirates did not expect to have room for Uviedo on the 40-man after this season because they will need to add several prospects, including outfielder Starling Marte and pitchers Danny Moskos, Rudy Owens, Nate Adcock, Jeff Locke and Diego Moreno.
The windows for Charlie Morton and Steve Pearce to continue their rehabilitation stints with Indianapolis -- 30 days for a pitcher, 20 days for a position player -- are closing. Morton's time will expire in two weeks, and Pearce's will expire early next week
Huntington left open the possibility that one or both could be optioned to Indianapolis, but that move would prevent the Pirates from recalling either for 10 days.
"With Charlie, the question is how we get his stuff to play like it did most of last year," Huntington said. "With Steve, we're looking at whether it's better for him to get everyday at-bats down there."
Morton certainly made the case that he is ready Thursday by pitching a complete game in a 9-1 rout of visiting Durham, allowing a run and two hits while striking out four, walking one.
"I felt pretty good," Morton said. "That's a good hitting team, and I was just trying to throw strikes. It went well."
• Catcher Tony Sanchez, the Pirates' first-round draft pick last year, had his jaw surgery Thursday in Tampa, Fla, and is expected to miss 6-8 weeks. He will spend the next 7-10 days inactive, then begin rehabilitation in Bradenton.
• Pearce's work at third base Wednesday and Thursday was only to fill Indianapolis' positional need at manager Frank Kremblas' request, Huntington said.
• The 40-man roster is at 37.
• Historical footnote: On Wednesday night, Paul Maholm became the first pitcher in franchise history to allow 11 runners to reach safely while retiring only three.
First Published June 25, 2010 12:00 am