6/1/2014 9:02 P.M. ET
Hughes regains edge to tighten bullpen roster
By Tom Singer / MLB.com
LOS ANGELES -- One reason the Pirates had the luxury of advantageously dealing Bryan Morris, a reliever with a 4-0 record, was the backup of worthy, waiting talent in the Minors. Such as Casey Sadler, who immediately got the call to take Morris' bullpen seat.
Another reason is Jared Hughes, whose return to his 2012 rookie form essentially pitched Morris off the staff.
Recovered from the right-shoulder inflammation that marred his '13 season, Hughes has gotten it all back: His health, his trademark sinker and manager Clint Hurdle's confidence in him.
In giving a status update of his post-Morris bullpen, Hurdle cited what he has stamped his "Core Four" -- lefties Tony Watson and Justin Wilson, setup man Mark Melancon, closer Jason Grilli -- but also made a point of noting, "Hughes has moved himself into more of a leverage situation in the past couple of weeks."
Translation: With chips on the line -- and, more importantly, men on base -- Hughes has become the guy.
Hughes stranded all 12 men he had inherited entering Sunday night's game. By contrast, Morris had allowed seven of his 10 inherited runners to score.
"I'm a ground-ball guy," Hughes nodded. "With the sinker, it's my job to come in and get the ground ball. And when you go in with men on base and escape the jam for somebody else, it's a great feeling."
Even during his absences last season, Hughes stranded 14 of 17 runners. In 2012, only 10 of his 38 inherited runners scored.
Pirates recall Sadler for long-relief role
LOS ANGELES -- Whenever a player's performance exceeds his projections and people start dropping words like "overachiever," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle rolls his eyes.
"If someone 'overachieves,' does that mean we just drafted him too low?" Hurdle asked with flawless logic.
Regardless of which side of that fence you stand, there is no argument that the newest Pirates player beat the longest odds to get here.
Right-hander Casey Sadler was taken in the 25th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. Catcher Russell Martin (17th round, 2002 by the Dodgers) lost his rank as the lowest-drafted Pirate when Sadler joined the team Sunday, replacing Bryan Morris, dealt earlier in the day to the Marlins.
"He gives us depth and length [from the bullpen]," Hurdle said of Sadler, who is beginning his second stint of the season with the Bucs. "Now he have two longer options there [along with Jeanmar Gomez]."
Sadler, 23, has been exclusively a starter the last two years in the Minors, making 32 consecutive starts, including eight this season for Indianapolis.
He proved his flexibility in his brief big league introduction in early May, when he twice took two-inning shutout turns against Toronto in PNC Park.
• The Bucs claimed right-hander Wirfin Obispo on waivers from the Braves on Sunday and optioned him to Triple-A Indianapolis. The 29-year-old Dominican led International League pitchers with 54 appearances last season and was 2-1 with a 4.66 ERA in 19 appearances this season with Triple-A Gwinnett.
• Stolmy Pimentel (shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to take another turn at extended spring training Monday, this time for two innings. He did some flat-ground throwing Saturday and has avoided any setbacks.
• Manager Clint Hurdle's preference for having relief pitchers start innings -- and to generally refrain from any mid-inning pitching changes -- is reflected by the fact Pirates relievers have had to deal with only 48 inherited runners all season, which ranks 29th in the Majors. Only Colorado (45) has had fewer.
First number, last word
.346: The Pirates' on-base percentage during the month of May, the best in the Major Leagues.
"If you believe in jinxes. I believe in location." -- manager Clint Hurdle, reminded that he had discussed Brandon Cumpton's "crazy" track record for not allowing any runs through four innings -- before Cumpton went out Saturday and, fighting his control, allowed 11 runs in 3 2/3 innings.
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.