D. McCutchen to start on Saturday vs. A's
Official announcement expected after Friday's game
ARLINGTON -- There will not be an official announcement until after the Pirates' game in Oakland on Friday, but the club is planning to recall right-hander Daniel McCutchen to start against the A's on Saturday.
By not making the roster move until after the series opener, the Pirates are able to stick with an eight-man bullpen for the next two days.
McCutchen began the season as the Pirates' fifth starter, but held on to that spot for just three starts (four total appearances) before being optioned back to Triple-A. None of McCutchen's three starts lasted more than four innings. In all, he allowed 18 earned runs on 19 hits in 12 innings. McCutchen walked seven and struck out seven.
Since joining the Triple-A rotation, McCutchen has gone 4-5 with a 3.86 ERA in 10 games. He has pitched seven innings in each of his last three starts and has a 2.73 ERA in four starts this month.
Saturday was already the right-hander's next scheduled day to pitch. With Zach Duke expected to miss at least two more starts with a flexor pronator strain, McCutchen would be in line to pitch again for Pittsburgh on July 1 if he fares well this weekend.
Pirates designate Eveland for assignment
ARLINGTON -- The Pirates designated left-hander Dana Eveland for assignment on Thursday, ending his tenure with the club after just three appearances.
The final straw was Eveland's outing on Wednesday in which he allowed six earned runs on seven hits and two walks in 2 2/3 innings of relief. Eveland was not able to give John Russell as many innings as the Pittsburgh manager expected from the long reliever, and after the game, Eveland was quick to blame his struggles on the Texas heat.
"It was a tough go for him," Russell said. "He was used sporadically, though when you're a long man, that's the nature of the beast. I didn't really see the velocity I thought I might see, the sharpness to his breaking ball and changeup. I really didn't see what I wanted to see."
Eveland's appearance on Wednesday came after an 11-day layoff. In all, Eveland allowed nine earned runs on 15 hits in 9 2/3 innings with Pittsburgh. He was acquired from the Blue Jays on June 1 in a trade for young right-hander Ronald Uviedo.
The Pirates now have 10 days to trade, release or outright Eveland to the Minors. If there is no trade interest in the lefty, the Pirates plan to outright him to Triple-A in hopes of getting Eveland back on track.
"We obviously liked Dana enough to acquire him," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We'll see what the next few days bring to us in terms of other teams' interest."
Pearce, Morton give Bucs options in Minors
ARLINGTON -- First baseman Steve Pearce and right-hander Charlie Morton remain in a holding pattern as the Pirates continue to discuss when would be the appropriate time to take both off the disabled list.
Neither Pearce (sprained right ankle) nor Morton (arm fatigue) have shown any recent signs of injury during their ongoing Minor League rehab stints in Triple-A. However, by leaving both players on the DL, the Pirates maintain more flexibility on where they can send the two players.
If, for instance, the Pirates were to take Morton off the DL and option him to Triple-A, he would not be eligible to join the big league club for a minimum of 10 days, unless someone goes on the disabled list. So by leaving Morton on the DL for now, he can remain an option to spot start for the Pirates on July 1, if needed.
The Pirates enjoy the same flexibility with Pearce by keeping him on the DL, too.
Morton is able to continue his Minor League rehab assignment for up to 30 days. That means the Pirates have through July 5 to decide whether to bring him back to Pittsburgh or option him to Triple-A. The Pirates have the ability to extend Pearce's rehab assignment as far as July 6 before making a similar decision.
Morton is making his fourth start for Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday night. He has allowed eight earned runs on 19 hits in his first 14 2/3 innings with the club. Pearce has hit .438 with three RBIs and five walks in five Triple-A rehab games.
Top prospects promoted to Triple-A
ARLINGTON -- The Pirates have promoted prospects Daniel Moskos and Alex Presley to Triple-A Indianapolis on Thursday. The pair had both been standout performers with Double-A Altoona all season.
Moskos, the Pirates' first-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, was moved into a closer's role this year and has thrived. In 28 appearances, Moskos notched 17 saves for a Curve team that has Minor League Baseball's best record. He has allowed just five earned runs and nine walks in 31 innings. Moskos had 30 strikeouts.
"He's gotten his aggressiveness back," general manager Neal Huntington said. "His season of innings last year built the arm strength back up because we weren't seeing the arm strength even as a reliever in .
"We challenged him to develop a sinker, which now he has another weapon just besides pure gas. The changeup has developed and been great. He's taken off."
The Pirates have also seen a spike in Moskos' velocity. Whereas his fastball sat around 89-91 mph last season, it's now regularly at 92-93 mph. The fastball has reached as high as 96 mph at times.
After spending two seasons at the high-A level, Presley began the year with Altoona and was leading the Eastern League with a .350 batting average and seven triples through 67 games. An eighth-round pick in 2006, Presley also had 13 doubles, six homers and 47 RBIs at the time of the promotion.
Sanchez undergoes successful surgery
ARLINGTON -- Catching prospect Tony Sanchez underwent successful jaw surgery on Thursday, reported general manager Neal Huntington. The procedure was necessary after Sanchez sustained two small fractures to the left side of his jaw.
Though it's a loose time frame, the Pirates expect Sanchez to have a six-to-eight week recovery period before he can return to the field. That window would give Sanchez a chance to return before the Minor League season ends.
Sanchez's mouth will be wired shut for a period of time, after which he'll be in Bradenton, Fla., to participate in whatever physical and baseball activities he's cleared to do. Sanchez was hitting .314 with 35 RBIs in 59 games before being hit on the face with a pitch.
On Tuesday, right-hander Chris Jakubauskas pitched in his first game since being struck on the head by a line drive in late April. Starting for the Gulf Coast League Pirates, Jakubauskas allowed four earned runs on six hits in three innings. He walked one and struck out five. ... Second baseman Akinori Iwamura is still expected to report to Indianapolis on Friday after being optioned to Triple-A. General manager Neal Huntington said Iwamura will split time playing second and third with the Indians. Infielder Jim Negrych is also shuffling between those two positions with Indianapolis. ... Double-A Altoona moved its record to 48-24 with a sixth straight win on Thursday afternoon. The Curve's record is the best of any Minor League club. ... First baseman Matt Curry, whom the Pirates selected in the 16th round of the First-Year Player Draft, carried Texas Christian University to a comeback victory in the College World Series on Wednesday with a two-out, eighth-inning grand slam. TCU ended up beating Florida State University, 9-7, in the elimination game.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.