Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 8/12/13
The Pirates have finally answered the cries of nearly every fan that reads regular minor league updates, checks Twitter, or just wants to see some offense out of right field. They are calling up Andrew Lambo for tonight’s game against the Cardinals. Lambo is a 25 year old that was acquired years ago in the James McDonald / Octavio Dotel trade. He had been a fairly pretty disappointing prospect up until this season, when he started tearing the cover off the ball. Between Double-A and Triple-A (almost exactly equal time in both), Lambo is tied for the minor league lead with 31 homers this season. He’s been doing a good job hitting for average (.284) and getting on base (.350) as well – although the major problem is an enormous strikeout rate (over 25%…Pedro’s at 31% for reference). The Pirates have been reluctant to call up Lambo, and that strikeout problem is probably the main reason. He’s certainly not a sure thing. This is a career year for him – he was stuck in AA for quite a while – and he’s no longer pegged as a high-end prospect. His defense is a bit of a question mark. He’s a lefty, and the Pirates really need help from the right side in the outfield. That said, it’s well past time to call him up and give him a shot. This is a guy that has been on fire all season (especially lately), and the Pirates don’t need a long term answer right now. They just want to catch lightning in a bottle and ride a hot bat during some important games. Nobody is more likely to be a hot bat than this guy…certainly he could fail, but I’d much rather give him a look than continuing to trot out Alex Presley and Jose Tabata. (Plus, Starling Marte‘s status is still very much in question at this point.) Lambo’s no guarantee to provide instant offense, but there’s absolutely a chance he could…and now’s the time to take that chance. As of this post, no corresponding roster move has been announced yet. The Bucs won’t need to make one until just before the game tonight. If Marte is OK, Presley will probably head back down. If not, Marte could hit the 15-day DL, which would certainly be a big blow for the Pirates…especially after the positive initial diagnosis. Other news and notes: Gerrit Cole will be pushed back to Friday instead of taking his turn during the Cardinals series. That move gives Cole (on pace to throw way more innings than ever before) a breather and keeps him out of this crucial series, inserting A.J. Burnett on normal rest instead. Cole’s struggled a bit lately and it’s almost a no brainer to have A.J. pitch against the Cards instead. Good move. For the record, the Cardinals shuffled their rotation around for this series as well. Adam Wainwright was supposed to pitch this weekend, but they pushed him back to face the Bucs instead. The Pirates signed minor league catcher Kelly Shoppach. He has had a bit of a major league career but will almost certainly just be AAA depth for now, unless Tony Sanchez ends up being a disaster. The Bucs and the Indianapolis Indians agreed to extend their player development contract through 2016.
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