Pirates recall Morgan to fill right field
Club options reliever Marino Salas to free up roster spot
PITTSBURGH -- Needing another bat to carry them through the weekend, the Pirates recalled speedy center fielder Nyjer Morgan from Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday and optioned reliever Marino Salas back to Indianapolis.
The addition of Morgan does not, at least for now, signal a trip to the disabled list for injured outfielder Xavier Nady.
Nady, who has not played since spraining his left shoulder on Saturday, continues to show enough progress that the team is holding out hope he will not have to be placed on the DL. If Nady were to be, he would not be eligible to come off until June 30.
In the meantime, with Nady and catcher Ryan Doumit remaining out for the weekend and the Pirates no longer having the courtesy of playing with a designated hitter, the team could not afford to go with a three-player bench as they start a nine-game homestand.
Morgan started the season with the Pirates before being sent down on May 8, after being squeezed out of playing time because of the outstanding production from all three starting outfielders.
And after making just two starts during his six weeks with Pittsburgh to start the season, Morgan arrived at PNC Park just after noon on Friday to find himself batting leadoff and playing right in Friday's series opener.
"I'm just going to try and make the most of it for as long as I'm here and help the team as much as I can," he said.
That might not be for very long. Assuming Nady will be ready to return to the outfield at some point next week, Morgan will almost certainly return to Indianapolis.
Morgan has never played right in the Majors, and the 27-year-old outfielder estimated that he has started just three games there since Little League. In order to get familiar with the PNC Park's short right-field fence and the slice of balls off the bat, Morgan shagged balls during early work and batting practice Friday afternoon.
"Right field being a little shorter, there are less angles," manager John Russell said. "He should be fine."
With Andrew McCutchen serving as Indianapolis' center fielder, Morgan played primarily in left during his time with the Triple-A club.
After using his initial time in Triple-A almost like a second Spring Training, Morgan has since come around at the plate. He hit .295 in his last 10 games after batting just .222 during May.
"It was just going and getting back in the flow of things," said Morgan, who had gotten just 31 at-bats during his 34 games with the Pirates to start the season. "Everybody had a month on me and I was just trying to get out there and get back in the smooth of things."
More notably is what Morgan has done on the basepaths. In 37 games, Morgan swiped 19 bases in 22 attempts. The Pirates, in comparison, have stolen just 21 bases all season.
For Salas, his latest big league callup lasted just one week. During that span, the young right-hander made two appearances, allowing five earned runs in a combined two-thirds of an inning. This demotion will mark his third different stint with the Indians this season.
Russell showed no concern about a six-man bullpen being able to carry the load during this weekend's series.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.