Jeff Karstens will pitch tonight

Just before yesterday afternoon’s game, the Pirates called up Bryan Morris from Indianapolis, sent Jordy Mercer down, and claimed the famous, itinerant Drew Sutton off of waivers. They also announced that Jeff Karstens would skip his last rehab start and return to the rotation tonight against the Phillies. Morris was immediately available for yesterday’s game, though Neal Huntington’s pre-game comments indicated that he wouldn’t be up in Pittsburgh for long. Presumably, Sutton will fill the 25-man roster spot that was allegedly held by Mercer, who more or less went MIA for almost a month as a Pirate. Sutton takes Charlie Morton’s 40-man roster spot as Morton’s been transferred to the 60-day DL.

Morris will probably head back to the minors as soon as Sutton joins the Pirates in Philadelphia, maybe as soon as tonight. Morris has had a very good year in Triple-A, striking out a batter an inning to put up a nice 4.40 K/BB ratio to go with his 2.28 ERA in 43 1/3 bullpen innings. I think he’ll be an effective big league reliever in the near-to-immediate future, but the Pirates don’t really have room for him in the bullpen right now.

That’s partially because the Pirates also said that Brad Lincoln will be removed from the rotation in favor of Karstens’ return. There’s no word on who will be removed from the 25-man roster in favor of Karstens, but a safe bet would probably be Chris Resop, who’s been pretty bad for the Pirates out of the bullpen this year. Doug Slaten, who’s being sparingly used since his call-up, would be a good guess, as well.

Of course, there’s bound to be some eyerolling over keeping Kevin Correia in the rotation ahead of Lincoln (I’m doing it over here myself, thinking of Correia pitching against the Cardinals on Friday in what could be a big NL Central matchup), but I’m guessing that there’s plenty more shuffling to come with both the rotation and the bullpen in the coming days. The fact remains that the bullpen is the Pirates’ biggest strength, and there’s quite bit of depth to it with Chris Leroux coming back and Morris and even Tim Wood in Indianapolis. That leaves room for a trade of someone like Juan Cruz or even (gasp!) Grilli or Hanrahan for some kind of offensive help at the deadline without seriously compromising the pen’s effectiveness. The same goes for the rotation with Lincoln and Owens and Locke behind Correia (who probably can’t be traded, but hey, it’s worth a shot). In any case, there will be a couple of moves today, but I’d expect quite a bit more shuffling in the near future.

Pat Lackey

About Pat Lackey

In 2005, I started a WHYGAVS instead of working on organic chemistry homework. Many years later, I've written about baseball and the Pirates for a number of sites all across the internet, but WHYGAVS is still my home. I still haven't finished that O-Chem homework, though.