PITTSBURGH -- Scheduled to make his first appearance of the season as a starter for Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday, Daniel McCutchen instead found himself summoned to Pittsburgh on Friday night to join the big league bullpen.
McCutchen was added to the roster on Saturday after the Pirates placed Ross Ohlendorf on the disabled list.
The Pirates were in desperate need of a fresh arm -- specifically a pitcher who could pitch multiple innings -- after the bullpen was drained in Friday's 4-3 win over Colorado. The 'pen logged 11 1/3 innings, and all six healthy relievers made an appearance.
The heavy workload meant that Chris Resop, Garrett Olson, Jeff Karstens and Mike Crotta were deemed unavailable for Saturday's game. Evan Meek was as well, though that decision was because of tightness in the right-hander's shoulder.
While the bullpen recovers, McCutchen will be manager Clint Hurdle's first option if the club needs someone to pitch in long relief. Expecting to begin the season as a starter, McCutchen threw 75 pitches in an extended Spring Training game on Tuesday. He had tossed 68 in the outing before that.
Pittsburgh might have considered Brian Burres or Chris Leroux for the callup instead, but both pitched recently. Burres, who isn't on the 40-man roster, started for Indianapolis on Thursday. Leroux only tossed an inning on Friday, but he is not as stretched out as McCutchen
"He's done some good things," Hurdle said of McCutchen, who made 19 appearances out of the Pirates' bullpen last year. "He's got good stuff, and he's very competitive. He's a good guy for us to be able to have."
Ohlendorf to DL with shoulder posterior strain
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' need for a fresh bullpen arm and a posterior strain in Ross Ohlendorf's right shoulder prompted the club to place Ohlendorf on the 15-day disabled list prior to Saturday's game against the Rockies. Righty Daniel McCutchen was recalled from Triple-A to take Ohlendorf's roster spot.
Though the injury differs, this marks the second consecutive year in which Ohlendorf has been sidelined fewer than 10 days into the season. Back spasms after his first start in 2010 cost Ohlendorf almost a month before a shoulder injury, similar to the one he sustained in his start on Friday, ended his year on August 24.
Asked if the decision to place Ohlendorf on the DL was an aggressive one, given the team's need for another pitcher before Saturday's game, manager Clint Hurdle suggested the move was made independent of the state of the bullpen.
"I think it was a win-win for everybody," Hurdle said. "He's going to need some time."
Ohlendorf reiterated on Saturday that he does not believe the severity of this shoulder injury matches last year's issue. An MRI examination is possible. He anticipates treating the shoulder strain the same way he treated it last year, which is primarily through strengthening exercises.
"I don't think it will take as long [to heal] as last time," Ohlendorf said. "I feel much better than I did last year when I got hurt."
Ohlendorf will be eligible to come off the DL on April 24.
"It's frustrating, but at this point, I can't really do anything about it except work to get back," Ohlendorf said. "Anytime you go on the DL, it's tough. In the past, I really haven't been hurt that much. It's kind of surprising and frustrating."
Starter Correia pitches out of 'pen in ninth
PITTSBURGH -- Kevin Correia made an unusual, but mightily effective and efficient, relief appearance in the Pirates' 6-4 loss to the Rockies on Saturday night.
Manager Clint Hurdle called on the team's Opening Day starter to pitch the ninth. Correia needed only nine pitches to get through as he retired the side in order. The right-hander had been told ahead of time to be ready to pitch given the shortage of relievers the Pirates had available.
Saturday was to be Correia's normal day to pitch on the side, so instead of doing it secluded in the bullpen, he got his work in against the Rockies.
"Actually it probably turned out to be very good for him," Hurdle said. "He probably threw less pitches in the game than he would have on the side. He got some quality work done."
By pitching Correia instead of Daniel McCutchen in the ninth, Hurdle was able to keep McCutchen as a long relief option for Sunday. Hurdle said that starter Paul Maholm will be able to pitch an inning or two out of the bullpen on Sunday, if necessary. The Pirates are expected to also have Mike Crotta and Joel Hanrahan available.
Hurdle's plans for rotation vacancy up in air
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have not yet completed their first home series of the season, but the club already has a rotation vacancy to address.
With Ross Ohlendorf (right shoulder posterior strain) out until at least April 24, the Pirates are going to have to call on a spot starter at least twice over the next two weeks. The club has the option of going with a four-man rotation in this next cycle through the starters, because of Monday's off-day. Manager Clint Hurdle confirmed that such an approach is under consideration.
After that, though, the Pirates play for 13 straight days, meaning there will be the need for a fifth starter. Who that might be and what the immediate plans are is something Hurdle was not ready to announce on Saturday.
"We don't need to make a decision yet on that, so we're just going to go TBA," Hurdle said. "We've got to see how everything plays out. We've got to get through the next two days, and then we'll evaluate from there."
When the Pirates do need to employ a spot starter, Jeff Karstens is the likely candidate to slide in. He has jumped from the bullpen to the rotation before and fared well in the transition. Karstens' arm is plenty built up, too, after throwing 67 pitches in relief of Ohlendorf on Friday.
"He's one of a small group of men that I've come across that just says, 'Let me know what you want me to do, and I'm going to go do it,'" Hurdle said. "I think his mentality and his attitude have a lot to do with it. He's got some skills. There's no fear."
Meek not quite ready to return
PITTSBURGH -- Evan Meek threw long toss on Saturday and said his right shoulder feels better. It's just not healthy enough for the Pirates to feel OK letting Meek return to the mound.
Manager Clint Hurdle listed Meek as "doubtful" for the third game of this four-game set against Colorado. Meek said that sitting out both games this weekend would probably be best. He could then take advantage of Monday's off-day while aiming for a return to the mound on Tuesday.
"I'm still not feeling quite 100 percent," Meek said. "The whole point right now is just [that] there's no point in throwing me out there and risking something happening where it's going to take me a week or two weeks to come back. It's not something that's serious, but it is something that they want to give me a few extra days."
Meek's absence leaves the Pirates with one less relief pitcher in a bullpen that is already taxed. At this point, though, there has been no discussion about a possible move to the disabled list.
"The frustrating thing for me is all of our guys threw [Friday] night, so our bullpen is pretty tired right now," Meek said. "I feel like I can pitch, but it just makes more sense to take a day and heal and get better."
PITTSBURGH -- Catcher Chris Snyder finished 3-for-3 with six RBIs on Friday in his second rehab appearance with Class A Advanced Bradenton (Fla.). He caught seven innings in the game. ... Initially scheduled to make a rehab start for Class A Advanced Bradenton on Sunday, Brad Lincoln will instead be on the mound in Indianapolis. The Pirates changed plans after Daniel McCutchen was recalled to Pittsburgh. McCutchen was slated to be Triple-A Indianapolis' starter on Sunday.
This will be Lincoln's first game appearance since he was struck on the right forearm by a line drive late in Spring Training.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.