Pirates Notebook: Moss, Presley among 8 recalls
Bill Mazeroski looks at a statue of himself hitting the World Series-winning home run in 1960 at the opening of the Beat 'Em Bucs exhibit Monday at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum.
Share with others:
The Pirates' initial targeted number for September recalls was "moderate," as general manager Neal Huntington had put it, but that morphed into much more with eight players added Monday from Class AAA Indianapolis.
The list was headlined by outfielders Brandon Moss and Alex Presley, Indianapolis' best performers, and also included shortstop Pedro Ciriaco, catcher Jason Jaramillo and pitchers Brad Lincoln, Justin Thomas, Brian Bass and Steven Jackson, all of whom will be in uniform tonight at PNC Park.
To make room for Moss, Presley, Bass and Jackson on the 40-man roster, the Pirates placed pitcher Ross Ohlendorf and first baseman Jeff Clement on the 60-day disabled list, thus officially ending their seasons, and designated for assignment infielder Aki Iwamura and catcher Erik Kratz.
The most pressing immediate question: What to do with all the outfielders?
Left and center field belong to Jose Tabata and Andrew McCutchen, respectively, and manager John Russell already was dividing right field between Lastings Milledge, Ryan Doumit and John Bowker.
"It is going to be a challenge," Huntington acknowledged.
Some possible solutions he raised: Bowker can play first base and will spell Garrett Jones. Presley will back up left and center, as well as pinch-running. Moss can back up at either corner outfield spot. Milledge, Bowker and Doumit will remain in the mix, too.
Moss, who turns 27 next week, was Indianapolis' MVP after batting .266 with 22 home runs and 96 RBIs, the latter leading the International League. He can be a minor-league free agent this offseason if he is not on the 40-man roster, and he would be out of options next year, so time is limited to see if Moss can do better in the majors than last year, when he batted .236 with seven home runs and 41 RBIs.
Management debated whether or not to add him.
"We felt Brandon had done what he needed to do to deserve a call-up," Huntington said.
Presley, 25, soared from virtual non-prospect status -- he batted .257 in 2009, his second full year at high Class A -- to total 166 hits between Class AA Altoona and Indianapolis, batting .320 with 12 home runs and 85 RBIs. He is generously listed at 5 feet 9, but he rose above with his production and speed.
"Alex's maturation and hard work put him in a position to be called up," Huntington said.
Ciriaco, who will turn 25 later this month, was part of the Chris Snyder trade with Arizona. Known mostly for his glove, he batted .265 for the year in Class AAA, with six home runs, 57 RBIs and 19 steals.
The Pirates' tentative plan had been to have Lincoln take injured Jeff Karstens' place in the rotation, but Lincoln instead will go to a "controlled role out of the bullpen" for now, Huntington said.
Lincoln pitched poorly again Monday in Indianapolis' finale -- five runs in 2 1/3 innings -- in his second start since missing time because of a stiff neck. Management determined afterward that Lincoln would be best served pitching side sessions and limited relief while working with pitching coach Ray Searage on mechanical issues he had been addressing in Indianapolis.
That, coupled with Brian Burres' good work Monday against Atlanta, makes it highly likely that Burres will take Karstens' place.
The release of Iwamura ended his awful stint with the Pirates: He showed up overweight for spring training, batted .182 and played abysmally at second base over 54 games, then was optioned to Indianapolis June 16.
He will be paid his full $4.85 million salary, highest on the team until the acquisition of Snyder.
Huntington explained that Iwamura was not recalled because of "the desire to see what potential there was for a longer-term with other position players."
• Reliever Evan Meek was cleared to pitch Monday after missing a week to a bruised right hand, and he turned in a scoreless eighth inning despite a hit and walk. "I just wanted to stay within myself, throw strikes," Meek said.
• The Pirates already had said Clement was done for the year, but the disabled-list placement for Ohlendorf made his status official.
• The 40-man roster is full.