Bucs promote Clement, claim Takahashi off waivers
Mercer returns from paternity leave; Navarro and D. McCutchen optioned
PITTSBURGH -- Jeff Clement, the Pirates' Opening Day first baseman in 2010, is back with the club after being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday.To make room for Clement, who was hitting .276 with 16 home runs for the Indians, Pittsburgh optioned Yamaico Navarro back to the Triple-A affiliate. The Pirates also claimed lefty reliever Hisanori Takahashi off waivers from the Angels and will make a corresponding roster move once Takahashi reports to Pittsburgh. Clement's promotion was the club's second of three roster moves on the day. Earlier, right-hander Daniel McCutchen was returned to Indianapolis as Jordy Mercer was activated off the paternity leave list. Mercer missed the series in San Diego to be home for the Monday birth of his son, Maverick. The promotion caps Clement's comeback from surgery on his left knee in September 2010. "To think where I was a year ago, just coming off rehab, to having a sold year in Triple-A and getting back here ... it's everything I'd hoped it would be," Clement said. "I'm excited by the opportunity." The 29-year-old power hitter immediately gives the Pirates a long-distance left-handed threat off the bench and figures to get some starts when Clint Hurdle wants to "bullrush a right-handed pitcher." "We felt Jeff was as good a candidate to give us a left-handed bat off the bench as anything that was available externally," Hurdle said. "I think he'll be a tough guy to get out." Clement makes his big league return in the midst of a considerable slump. He went 6-for-39 (.154) in his most recent 10 games with Indianapolis and was hitting .169 in 19 games in August. "I definitely haven't been swinging as consistently well," he conceded, "but the balls I have been squaring up just haven't found holes. It's baseball; it happens in a long season. But my swing has been a lot better the last few days." Clement made his most recent Major League appearance with the Bucs on Aug. 20, 2010.
Takahashi, 37, went 0-3 with a 4.93 ERA in 42 relief appearances this season with the Angels.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.