Pirates Recall Bryan Morris, DFA Chris Leroux

Bryan Morris has been recalled.

Bryan Morris has been recalled.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have recalled Bryan Morris and designated Chris Leroux for assignment, per a team press release. Morris will be active for tonight’s game. The Pirates have a somewhat depleted bullpen right now. Justin Wilson and Jeanmar Gomez both went multiple innings earlier in the week in place of Wandy Rodriguez. Jason Grilli threw several days in a row this week. Morris should add a fresh arm to the mix.

In his brief time in Triple-A, Morris had thrown three shutout innings, with two strikeouts. He throws a mid-90s fastball and an upper 80s cutter that’s a good strikeout pitch. Morris had very little to learn in Triple-A, and was pretty much sent down because he had options remaining.

Leroux was out of options, and you can’t fault the Pirates for giving him a shot. He’s had strong secondary ratios since joining the club, with a high strikeout rate and a low walk rate. Last year he struggled returning from a pectoral strain, which lowered his velocity and forced him to rely more on his slider. The velocity bounced back some this year (92.1 MPH vs 91.2 MPH last year), but wasn’t to the point it was before the injury (93.6 MPH). He was also throwing 50% sliders in his limited innings, and had six walks in four innings.

If Leroux clears waivers, the Pirates can try to outright him to Triple-A. However, since this would be the second time he’s been outrighted, he could refuse and declare free agency. He obviously wasn’t doing well in the early part of this season, but I still like the potential of Leroux. Before the injury he looked like a good sleeper reliever. If the Pirates can retain him, and if he can get back to where he was in 2011, he could emerge as a good option for the bullpen later in the year.

As for Morris, you’d like to see him up for good, getting work in the middle innings and eventually moving to the late inning roles where his stuff definitely plays. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s only up for a short time. The Pirates may need a spot starter for Wandy Rodriguez. If they go with a Wilson/Gomez combo again, they will deplete their bullpen again this week. That leaves a spot starter from Triple-A as an alternative, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Morris goes back down when a spot starter is needed.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • jamminjoe66

    It’s about time, it’s just a shame that hurdle won’t use him. With him not being an untalented veteran & all

    • xhoratiox

      Tim, doesn’t this use up his last option? Morris I mean?

      • http://www.piratesprospects.com Tim Williams

        I was just writing about that. A post will be up shortly.

      • https://profiles.google.com/107500598404660809214 Kerry Writtenhouse

        Actually the option remaining is good for the whole season, no matter how many times he’s called up or sent down.

  • http://twitter.com/jlease717 jlease717

    This is hardly a loss. I don’t know why he’d elect free agency, the rest of the league will surely pass on him.

    The Pirates enjoy hanging on to some minimal talent guys, and yet not others. Figuring out a logical reason for it would be an impressive display of intellect.

  • jg941

    Watch the Blue Jays claim him. He did pretty well in the WBC, a little Canadian pride move there, and the Blue Jays’ pitching thus far has actually been more atrocious that Leroux’s.

    Possible?

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.sweetnich Joe Sweetnich

    Neal will be doing some claiming of his own since we now have a 40-man roster spot open.

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