The Pittsburgh Pirates announced today that they will be calling up Chase d’Arnaud on Friday. To make room for the addition, Josh Harrison has been optioned to Indianapolis. D’Arnaud is in the middle of a strong season at the AAA level, with a .280/.347/.418 line in 239 at-bats. He started the season slow, with a .217/.323/.373 line in April. Since that point, d’Arnaud has been on fire, with a .329/.357/.456 line in 79 at-bats in May, and a .299/.365/.429 line in 77 at-bats in June. He’s also been a threat on the bases, with 15 stolen bases in 16 attempts the last two months.
The decision to send down Josh Harrison is a bit confusing. For one, Harrison has been playing well. He’s got a .283 average in 60 at-bats. That’s an empty average, as it comes with a .295 on-base percentage and a .317 slugging percentage. Basically, Harrison has been a singles hitter so far in his short major league career. The big reason the move is confusing is that Pedro Ciriaco remains on the roster. Ciriaco has been in the majors longer than Harrison, yet only has six at-bats. The Pirates aren’t even using him. You could argue that he’s there to back up shortstop, although now that the Pirates have d’Arnaud on the roster, there’s even less of a need for Ciriaco. He’s basically wasting a roster spot, and Harrison would be a much better option to have off the bench.
Rob Biertempfel also adds an update that Alex Presley and Brad Lincoln will be with the team next week. The addition of Lincoln isn’t a surprise, as the Pirates will need a spot starter for the July 2nd double header against the Washington Nationals. Lincoln currently has a 3.82 ERA in 77.2 innings at the AAA level this year, with a 66:14 K/BB ratio. Presley will be promoted on Tuesday for the start of the series against Toronto, presumably due to the need for a designated hitter.
Ciriaco will be demoted to the minors to make room for Presley. One of Presley or d’Arnaud will be demoted to make room for Lincoln. That clears the way for Harrison to return on July 3rd, when Lincoln gets sent back down. Still, that means that only two of the Presley/Harrison/d’Arnaud group will be in the majors after July 3rd. Ideally, all three players should be on the 25-man roster. Hopefully d’Arnaud and Presley can play well enough to make it hard to send them down, while keeping guys like Lyle Overbay and Matt Diaz on the roster.
The Pirates will have to make a corresponding move on the 40-man roster to make room for d’Arnaud.