The Pirates announced this morning that Chase D’Arnaud will be with the Pirates for their weekend series against the Red Sox. D’Arnaud’s hitting .280/.347/.418 in Indy, but he’s been much better in May and June after a cold April and some time on the disabled list. Josh Harrison has been demoted back to Indianapolis in his place.
There’s plenty of consternation about Harrison going down instead of Pedro Ciriaco, but I think a few factors are at play here. One is that the Pirates want Harrison to get at-bats, whereas they’re obviously not concerned if Ciriaco does. The other is that Brandon Wood has been hitting the ball pretty well of late. In June he’s hitting at a .292/.320/.438 clip, which isn’t great (especially the OBP), but it’s much better than the hollow .283/.295/.317 line that Harrison had managed. If the Pirates have finally reached the end of their Ronny Cedeno rope and want to give D’Arnaud a chance, it would make sense to give Wood the at-bats at third for now to see if he can continue being at least somewhat useful with the bat. That leaves Harrison as the odd man out for now. I’m certainly not writing the guy off after 62 big league plate appearances, but he did seem pretty overmatched at times and it makes sense to send him back for some regular reps in Triple-A.
We could debate the Pedro Ciriaco 24-man roster from now until the end of time, but it seems to me that Clint Hurdle’s pretty firm on wanting a certain number of infielders and outfielders (the decision not to call Alex Presley up for the Indians’ series was presented everywhere as Hurdle’s choice, not Huntington’s) and if Ciriaco goes down, that leaves just one backup infielder for non-first base positions. It’s already pretty clear that Hurdle has a little more pull in the decision-making than John Russell did and I’m guessing that Huntington picks his battles and has decided this one isn’t worth fighting. The 25th man on the roster just isn’t that important, statistically speaking, and in the end when there’s a chance for Presley to play regularly, he’ll be in Pittsburgh to do so.
That chance is probably coming soon, as Rob Biertempfel just tweeted that both Presley and Brad Lincoln will be called up next week. After the fiasco in Cleveland, the club is likely rethinking their DH strategy and with Lyle Overbay likely headed to the bench a bit more regularly, there should be plenty of ways to work Presley into the lineup. Lincoln, I’m guessing, will be joining the club for the double header in DC, though that’s not in any way confirmed yet.
I’ve been saying for a while that the Pirates need to find out what some of these fringe-type guys can do. Apparently, they’re all about to get their chance.
UPDATE: Biertempfel has a great blog post about the roster maneuverings that are about to go on, pointing out that both Harrison and Ciriaco will need to go down in the coming week and that by sending Harrison down now, he’ll be eligible to come back up for Lincoln after his spot start next weekend.