Notes: Pirates announce callups
Pearce, Perez, Morgan to be brought up from Triple-A
MILWAUKEE -- The Sept. 1 callups began on Aug. 31 for the Pirates. Well, at least that's when the announcement came.
Following the Pirates' loss to the Brewers on Friday, general manager Dave Littlefield announced that three Triple-A Indianapolis players -- first baseman Steven Pearce, right-handed reliever Juan Perez and outfielder Nyjer Morgan -- will be joining the club on Saturday.
Both Morgan and Perez are already on the Pirates' 40-man roster, and in order to add Pearce, the Pirates shifted Chris Duffy from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day DL.
It was simply a formality, considering Duffy had season-ending shoulder surgery earlier in the day.
Earlier Friday, manager Jim Tracy projected that about five to six players would join the club for the final month. In addition to the three being added on Saturday, the Pirates will likely add at least an arm or two once the Indianapolis season comes to an end on Monday.
Add Zach Duke in that mix as well, as the left-hander is expected to join the club soon, possibly as early as next week. However, with Duke currently on the DL and the 40-man roster now full, the Pirates will have to make a roster move when they do decide that Duke is ready to return.
That said, it appears likely that shortstop and highly touted prospect Brian Bixler will have to wait until Spring Training to make his next impression with the big league club. Like Duke, Bixler is not on the 40-man roster and it seems unlikely that the Pirates would make two separate roster moves to accommodate both.
One thing that may also be somewhat complicating the callup process this year, too, is the fact that the Pirates still see themselves in contention and that their schedule has them playing contenders nearly all through the month of September.
"You don't foresee a lot of days where you are going to have the liberty to run four or five guys out there -- who were playing baseball in Triple-A or Double-A -- in a big league game," Tracy said. "You need to protect the integrity of the game and your situation in relation to the other competitors that you're playing against."
Therefore, with playing time likely to be limited, the Pirates may not feel as rushed to add as many players as they have in the past.
Home run happy: Jose Bautista's seventh-inning home run on Thursday had more significance than just giving the Pirates the lead. It also marked the 44th time the Pirates had gone deep this month, setting a club record. The previous high mark of 43 was set 60 years ago.
While it is true that records are made to be broken, it's still surprising that this record was broken by this team. Not known for being a particularly powerful bunch, the Pirates' previous month-high total this season was 25, set in June. For that matter, the team combined for just 47 long balls total in the months of April and May.
What is also noteworthy is that this sudden power surge has been widespread, with 12 different players going deep. Nine of those players had at least three homers in the month. Nate McLouth led the crew with seven blasts, followed by Bautista with six.
Grabow plugging along: Despite lingering pain in his left elbow, John Grabow will continue pitching through the remainder of the season before having offseason surgery to remedy the problem. The pain intensified earlier this month, sidelining Grabow for a few days, but has now returned to a more tolerable level.
"It just comes and goes," Grabow said. "It's something that I want to get taken care of in the offseason, but I'm feeling OK right now."
Grabow said that the pain is a result of what doctors call a loose body, or a broken piece of bone, in his elbow. The surgery is not expected to keep Grabow sidelined for more than a few weeks afterward.
Doumit progressing: Ryan Doumit continues to do a variety of exercises to strengthen his sprained left wrist and is taking fly balls again in the outfield. Thought Doumit would have been eligible to come off the disabled list last Wednesday, he still hasn't improved to the point where he can do anything functional with a bat.
There is no timetable set for when Doumit will begin hitting off the tee and progressing to the point where he can take live batting practice again.
Baseball 101: For those watching Thursday's game who sat befuddled by watching runs subtracted from the Reds' total in the fourth inning, take solace in the fact that you weren't the only ones baffled.
"I've never seen runs taken off like that," starter Matt Morris said afterward.
For those still not quite sure what transpired during an approximate 10-minute delay, here is some clarification.
The sequence of events began with a two-out, bases-loaded single that brought home Ken Griffey Jr., who was on third, and Adam Dunn, who had been on second. However, nearly everyone in the Pirates dugout noticed that Dunn missed third by about a foot on his turn toward home and subsequently appealed the play. Dunn was called out for the final out of the inning.
What happened next was what caused the most confusion. Though Griffey had already scored, his run, too, was erased as the umpires correctly invoked Rule 7.12 that states: "Unless two are out, the status of a following runner is not affected by a preceding runner's failure to touch or retouch a base. If such third out is the result of a force play, neither preceding nor following runners shall score."
In following with that second sentence, the run scored by Griffey, the preceding runner, was negligible because Dunn was ruled out on a force play. Also, Edwin Encarnacion, who had the two-out hit, was not credited with a single.
Bucs bits: When Duke makes his rehab start at Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday he will be on a pitch count of about 70-75 pitches. ... Jack Wilson returned to the lineup for the first time since leaving last Saturday's game with a severely bruised shin. ... Despite throwing a total of 76 pitches in three relief appearances the past three days, closer Matt Capps is expected to be available out of the bullpen in Friday's series opener. ... Freddy Sanchez is one of five National League second baseman finalists for a 2007 Silver Slugger Award. ... Duffy's left shoulder surgery went as expected on Friday and he is expected to be cleared to begin playing again around March 1.
Minor matters: The Dominican Summer League Pirates evened their series with the DSL Yankees to 1-1 with a semifinal playoff win earlier on Friday. The best-of-three series will conclude Saturday, with the winner of that game going on to compete for the league championship. ... The following players were honored with end-of-the-season awards for Double-A Altoona: Pearce (MVP), Matt Peterson (Pitcher of the Year) and Brian Peterson (Unsung Hero Award).
On deck: Saturday's game between the Pirates and the Brewers will begin at 7:05 p.m. ET at Miller Park. The matchup between division foes will pit left-hander Shane Youman (3-4, 5.59 ERA) against Brewers righty Dave Bush (10-9, 4.96).
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.