PITTSBURGH, PA — The Pirates announced several roster moves prior to the club’s game today.
Right-handed reliever Bryan Morris was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and infielder Drew Sutton was claimed from Tampa Bay. In order to make room on the 25-man roster for Morris, infielder Jordy Mercer was optioned to Triple-A. To make room on the 40-man roster for Sutton, pitcher Charlie Morton (Tommy John Surgery) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. A corresponding 25-man roster move for Sutton will be made when he joins the Pirates.
Morris posted a 2.28 ERA with five saves and 44 strikeouts in 23 relief appearances for Triple-A Indy this season. Since the beginning of May, Morris has allowed five runs over 33.2 innings (1.34 ERA) and just one run over his last 17.0. Morris is available from the bullpen this afternoon.
“We wanted to add a pitcher to the mix today,” Huntington said. “Clint is really trying to work hard to make sure not to tax our bullpen too significantly. With the arms that we’ve used, the amount that we’ve used them, we felt it was a good opportunity to get Bryan up here for a couple days. It’s probably going to be a short term move. He’s been told that, but at the same time he gets to experience the big league environment if the gets into the game because we need the arm.”
Sutton began the season with Triple-A Gwinnett, where he hit .270 with 10 doubles, two triples, 15 RBI and 19 runs scored in 38 games before being acquired by Pittsburgh on May 20. He was then traded to Tampa Bay the next day, in order to give him the opportunity to play at the big league level. Sutton his .271 with four doubles and six RBI in 18 games with the Rays before being designated for assignment on Friday.
“Tampa had an immediate opening for him,” Huntington said. “Our thought process was when we brought Mercer up and send Navarro out was we’d be able to flip flop them in a couple of weeks. It’s been a couple of weeks. We’re still kicking some of the rust off of Yamaico’s game. We did not feel it would be in his best interest to call him up now. At the same time, we don’t want to get too rusty with Jordy by having him not play. This was a perfect opportunity for us to get us a switch hitter. He gives you professional at-bats. He can play a bunch of different positions on the field now that we brought him to the big leagues. In hindsight, we didn’t stand in his way for a Major League opportunity somewhere else.”
“We actually tried hard to sign him as a free agent this offseason. We fell short to Atlanta. He felt like he had a better chance to make the Braves club out of spring training than our club. When he came available we obviously pounced, then Tampa pounced and we pounced again. He can play first, second, he’s played short. Hasn’t played it much this year at third base, he can play left, he can play right.”
Mercer made just two starts with Pittsburgh, his last coming on June 1 at Milwaukee. He’s gone 1-for-9 since being recalled on May 29.
“It’s always tough for a guy to go out,” Huntington said. “You never want to get sent out, but we felt it was the best for Jordy Mercer and the best for the organization to get out and play again. Jordy has done what we’ve asked of him but with Josh [Harrison] playing as well as he’s been playing, with Clint [Barmes] starting to put some things together, it was limited playing time for Jordy. Drew Sutton is a veteran switch hitter that can give you a quality at-bat and play different positions defensively. It will give Clint [Hurdle] some flexibility and not feel the pressure of having a young player sitting on his bench.”