PITTSBURGH -- What was speculated on by manager Clint Hurdle after Charlie Morton's start on Monday was made official one day later. Morton, Hurdle announced before Tuesday's game, will have his next start skipped.
The Pirates are taking advantage of two off-days -- one on Thursday, another next Monday -- to push Morton's next start back from Sunday to July 1. That will give the right-hander 10 days of rest before he takes the mound against the Nationals.
The timing of the pair of off-days also allows the Pirates to get by without calling up a spot starter from Triple-A Indianapolis. James McDonald, who started on Tuesday, will close out the homestand and throw on a normal four days' rest on Sunday. Kevin Correia, Paul Maholm and Jeff Karstens will start during the team's three-game series in Toronto from June 28-30.
"I've had some experience with a young staff developing at the Major League level," Hurdle said. "Charlie has pitched a very large volume of innings for his history. I believe it's more just road wear than anything else. You find ways to try and find preventative maintenance of injury. That's what we're trying to do."
It's been obvious through the results of Morton's last three outings that something hasn't been quite right with the right-hander. Hurdle believes fatigue is the biggest issue, and has led directly to Morton leaving too many pitches up. Morton has logged 84 innings this season (an average of six a start) after pitching just 43 1/3 in his first 11 starts last season before going on the disabled list at the end of May.
- 131 wins
- 121 wins
Morton threw a total of 159 2/3 innings combined between Pittsburgh and Indianapolis last season, and the Pirates do not want him to shoot past that innings count too quickly this year.
While the Pirates do not need a spot starter at the moment, Hurdle did say the club will have to find someone to cover one of the games during a July 2 doubleheader against the Nationals. Brad Lincoln, who is on the 40-man roster, has allowed only one earned run in each of his last three outings. He seems the likeliest to earn the callup. Brian Burres, Garrett Olson, Justin Wilson and Rudy Owens were also all mentioned by general manager Neal Huntington as candidates.
Bucs reacquire Rule 5 pick Rodriguez
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates get to continue developing infielder Josh Rodriguez after all.
Two months after having to return the Rule 5 pick to Cleveland when the Pirates couldn't keep Rodriguez on the Major League roster, the club has reacquired him from the Indians for cash considerations. Rodriguez has been assigned to Triple-A Indianapolis.
"Obviously, we liked him enough to take him in the Rule 5," general manager Neal Huntington said. "He came available and we wanted to add him back to the organization."
The addition bolsters the organization's depth in the infield and gives the Pirates the option of calling on Rodriguez to be a backup infielder if the club does not want to stick with Pedro Ciriaco. Rodriguez, Huntington said, will play second, short, third and in the outfield with Indianapolis in the meantime.
After going 1-for-12 before being designated for assignment by the Pirates on April 22, Rodriguez hit .193 in 18 games with Cleveland's Triple-A affiliate in Columbus. There, Rodriguez played 13 games in the outfield and the rest at third base.
Prospect Allie displays good stuff in pro debut
PITTSBURGH -- Though his debut came about two months later than Stetson Allie would have preferred, the highly regarded pitching prospect now has that first pro appearance in the books.
Allie pitched 2 1/3 innings for short-season State College on Monday night after having spent the last few months working through delivery issues and other development checkpoints in extended spring camp. Allie struck out the first batter he faced Monday and had three strikeouts through his first two innings.
The right-hander was pulled from the game in the third after allowing three walks, the last of which came with the bases full. In all, the second-round pick from the 2010 First-Year Player Draft allowed three earned runs on three hits and three walks.
"He actually threw the ball pretty well," said director of player development Kyle Stark, who was in State College for the outing. "There was a lot of adrenaline and excitement for this first outing, with a lot of people there to see him. He attacked the zone the first two innings, but sped up a little bit in his third inning.
"His velocity was within the range that it has been all spring, which is reflective of him learning how to pitch, rather than just throw," Stark added. "It is good to get the first one out of the way."
The Pirates drafted Allie, 20, out of high school last summer. He was ranked by MLB.com as the Pirates' second-best prospect coming into the year.
Beimel reports progress after playing catch
PITTSBURGH -- Reliever Joe Beimel said he felt "outstanding" after throwing 20 fastballs in a bullpen session on Monday. That was a much better report than the one provided by the left-hander after his mound work on June 14, which ended with Beimel feeling like he had no strength in his arm.
"I feel really good, really strong," he said on Tuesday.
Beimel, who is on the disabled list with left elbow inflammation, played catch on Tuesday and is scheduled to throw another 20 fastballs off the mound on Wednesday. He'll increase his workload and throw all his pitches in sessions on Saturday and next Tuesday before heading off to Florida to continue his rehab work while the team hits the road.
It has not yet been determined where Beimel will go on his Minor League rehab assignment.
The Pirates have come to terms with three more players chosen in the First-Year Player Draft: outfielder Alex Fuselier (21st round), left-hander Mike Jefferson (22nd round) and infielder Chris Lashmet (33rd round). Pittsburgh has now signed 10 of its 50 picks. The Pirates also announced the signing of non-drafted free agent righty Joe Parsons, who went 7-3 with a 3.12 ERA as a senior at Virginia Tech University.
A hearing for 44-year-old Subash Arjanbhi Modhwadia, who allegedly attacked the wife of Pirates catcher Chris Snyder in a road rage incident last Wednesday, has been postponed until June 30. The hearing was expected to be held on Tuesday. Snyder said he will speak publicly on the incident after the case is closed.
Michael Crotta has moved his Minor League rehab assignment to Triple-A Indianapolis after making one scoreless relief appearance in Double-A Altoona. The right-hander has been on the disabled list with right posterior elbow inflammation since May 11.
Luis Heredia made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast League Pirates on Tuesday. The 16-year-old right-hander allowed two earned runs on one hit and three walks in 2 2/3 innings. The GCL Pirates defeated the GCL Blue Jays, 10-7, in the afternoon contest.
Current Pirates players and coaches met with the returning members of the 1971 world championship team prior to Tuesday's game. Game 7 of the '71 World Series against Baltimore will be re-aired on ROOT SPORTS at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday and will include commentary from winning Pirates pitcher Steve Blass.
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.