The Pirates made two roster swaps before Friday’s game, adding Jose Contreras and Jordy Mercer to the team. To make room, Neil Walker was moved to the DL and Jared Hughes was optioned to AAA.
Contreras was signed in the offseason and is a 41 year old reliever from Cuba. I discussed his addition in February here and he’s been pitching well in his minor league rehab outings. It was a given that Contreras would be on the team once he was healthy, but seeing Hughes optioned was a mild (and pleasant, in my opinion) surprise. Hughes has not been right lately and Contreras will essentially take over his role. I want to see Bryan Morris continue to get a chance in the majors, and it looks like the Pirates finally agree.
Walker has been out since April 27 after getting stitches on his hand. The Pirates had been hoping he’d be back within a week or so, but it turns out that he needs more time than that so they put him on the DL. It’s retroactive to April 27 so he’s eligible to return on the 12th, and I’d think he’ll be ready by then. The Pirates assessed this situation poorly and ended up playing with a short bench for several games as a result, which was unfortunate. I’m very glad to see Mercer up, though. He’s been hitting the ball well in AAA and doesn’t have much left to prove there–but I’m assuming the Bucs would rather have him start at short every day in Indy instead of coming off the bench in Pittsburgh. Hopefully he can get a decent amount of playing time while he’s up.