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Hughes Optioned to Triple-A with Plans of Returning Soon

PITTSBURGH, Pa. — Righty reliever Jared Hughes was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday afternoon in order to activate right-hander A.J. Burnett from the 15-day disabled list. Hughes’ stay in Indy, however, won’t last long.

“It’s been a great opportunity. It will continue to be when I get back here. Right now, it’s whatever’s best for the team. I’m going to do it,” Hughes said. “They said that it’s one of those things where they had to do it now, and they want me to come back..I’ll be ready for whenever they need me.”

Hughes tossed 3.0 innings in Friday night’s 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. That followed 2.2 innings on Tuesday in Arizona. Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle said he would have been unavailable the next two days, giving the ‘pen one less arm.

“He’s done a very good job,” Hurdle said. “Fact of the matter being that we can’t use him for the next two days. That makes the move, the move. Of course, if you ask him, he can pitch today, he can pitch tomorrow. We’re going to give him the next two days off anyway.”

“He’s been able to pitch multiple innings for us, which has been very important for us so far. That stint the gave us last night. In a perfect world, I would have had him out after two innings. But this way, it kept four guys that was six appearances out of the game last night. ”

Hughes made five appearances from the ‘pen this season, where he allowed five runs (two earned) on nine hits over 8.2 innings (2.08 ERA). When he returns to Pittsburgh, Hurdle said he will be remain the long relief guy.

“Last year that was the way he was set up, he was closing [with Triple-A],” Hurdle said. “We did pitch him multiple innings last year as well. Right now for the fit of our ball club its more of a multiple inning guy when he rejoins us.”

Hurdle said that if need be, righty Brad Lincoln would be available from the bullpen in an emergency situation. Depending the status on Kevin Correia, who’s start tonight was scratched due to discomfort in his left side, he or Lincoln will get the start on Monday in PNC Park against Colorado.

“With the way things have fallen now with Kevin being okay, if we need Lincoln tonight in some kind of an emergency tonight, he’d be available,” Hurdle said. “Everything has kind of recalibrated in a weird way, because it was very un-calibrated yesterday at this time.”

——

Right-hander A.J. Burnett was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list, and will make his Pirates debut tonight against the St. Louis Cardinals. Burnett, 35, was originally slated to make his final rehab start with Double-A Altoona tonight. With Corriea being sidelined, Hurdle gave the nod to Burnett.

“I think he’s more geared up to pitch here tonight than I think he would have been in Altoona,” Hurdle said. “I think he was going to do what he felt might be the best for him to do. I think there’s a part of A.J. that felt that the best thing for him would have been to pitch in the big leagues. That’s the way it’s worked out.”

Over his three rehab starts (two with High-A Bradenton, one with Triple-A Indy), Burnett posted a 9.58 ERA over 10.1 innings.

The right-hander started the season on the 15-day disabled list rehabbing from surgery on his right orbital bone, which he fractured during a bunting drill at Pirate City in Bradenton on February 29.

“If A.J.’s got good stuff today, maybe that adrenaline will take place,” Hurdle said. “It will be fun to watch.”

 

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