PITTSBURGH -- All season long, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has been somewhat limited strategically by having only two catchers on his roster. It meant either Rod Barajas or Michael McKenry had to be kept out of games -- no pinch-hitting or replacement by pinch-runner -- in case of injury.Now, however, Barajas and McKenry have been joined by a former No. 3 overall First-Year Player Draft selection at catcher. OK -- Jeff Clement isn't going to log much time behind the plate; really, no time at all barring a crisis. A series of leg injuries, most definitively microsurgery on his left knee in September 2010, have pretty much terminated his catching career. But in an emergency, "Absolutely, I could do it. I'd be willing to do whatever they asked," said Clement, who made his first comeback start of 2012 in Sunday's game against the Brewers -- at first base, his adopted position. Until his July 31 trade to the Yankees, Casey McGehee, a guy who hasn't spent one instant behind the plate, was the Bucs' emergency catcher. So if a need arose, Clement would appear to be a more bona fide option. "I haven't yet been spoken to about that. But catching was my first love," said Clement, the Mariners' first-round pick in the 2005 Draft out of USC. "I've done it most of my career, although not at all this year. I don't even have any catching gloves, but I'm sure if the time came someone could lend me one." Sunday's start was the first in the big leagues for Clement since Aug. 20, 2010. Following his Friday recall from Triple-A Indianapolis, he made his season debut that night as a pinch-hitter, fanning in the ninth inning of the Pirates' 6-5 loss to Milwaukee.
Pirates activate Takahashi, place Qualls on DL
PITTSBURGH -- Left-hander Hisanori Takahashi has been activated by the Pirates and is available out of the bullpen for Sunday's game against the Brewers.To accommodate Takahashi on the 25-man roster, right-handed reliever Chad Qualls was placed on the 15-day disabled list with "irritation in his left big toe." Qualls, who had pitched a hitless inning in Friday night's series opener with Milwaukee, going on the DL at least implied injuries suffered by outfielder Jose Tabata and starting pitcher Jeff Karstens in Saturday night's game were diagnosed to not be serious enough for DL consideration. Both Tabata, who tweaked his left groin running the bases, and Karstens, who felt discomfort in his right-groin area while delivering an eighth-inning pitch, were given further medical and physical tests prior to Sunday's game. Tabata was kept out of the starting lineup, but was deemed available off the bench.
"I was very surprised to hear about the move. It took me about 10 minutes to think about it. But then I was happy to be a member of the Pirates."
-- Hisanori Takahashi, describing his reaction to hearing that he had been awarded by the Angels to the Pirates on a waiver claim.
Left-handed reliever Hisanori Takahashi, activated by the Pirates on Sunday, is wearing uniform No. 41. The Pirates have sold out their last seven Saturday home dates, and have gone 6-1 in those games, including their 4-0 win over the Brewers. Andrew McCutchen entered Sunday's game 1-for-7 in stolen-base attempts since June 19.
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.