Pirates Call Up Phil Irwin, Option Jeff Locke

The Pittsburgh Pirates have called up right-handed pitcher Phil Irwin, and have optioned Jeff Locke to Triple-A. Irwin started the year in the Indianapolis rotation, but moved to the bullpen after struggling in two starts. In his last three outings, he has given up one run on seven hits in 9.1 innings, with an 8:2 K/BB ratio.

Locke was up for a spot start yesterday, and was only expected to be in the majors for that one start. The Pirates don’t need a fifth starter until May 24th, which will allow them to use an extra spot on a reliever. Irwin was currently the only reliever available on the 40-man roster. Casey Sadler and Brandon Cumpton were both recently sent down, and can’t be recalled yet. The only other option, Duke Welker, is currently on the Indianapolis disabled list.

Irwin pitched once in the majors last year, making his debut on April 14th. That debut didn’t go well, and he was shut down for the year after just one more start in the minors. He dealt with elbow issues, and had ulnar nerve transposition surgery that ended his season. He’s got a great curveball and when his fastball is on, he can be a very effective pitcher.

Tim Williams

Author: 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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  • leadoff

    Why they sent Sadler down is beyond me, he should have started instead of Locke and he would still be here, he pitched an inning or two on Fri, or Sat. but that should not have been a problem starting on Mon. I know they will go with the old he was not stretched out angle, but IMO, they screwed up with him. The two guys that pitched the best lately have both been sent back, Sadler and Cumpton, I don’t get it.

  • Ron Loreski

    I was hoping they would call up Lambo. But with the bullpen getting overused lately, and Harrison hitting well right now, I guess I understand the move. Maybe in a few days they can option Hughes and bring Lambo up.

    • Monsoon Harvard

      Yeah, Lambo, me too. They’ll probably option Irwin back down in a few days I figure. Other than that stupid error Hughes made and his somewhat lack of control last night, he wasn’t pitching all that bad. Depends on how Irwin does, really. It could be one or the other.

  • johndw28

    Maybe I’m missing something- prior to his last 2 outings Irwin had a WHIP of almost 2.5 by my calculation. This season is going from bad to worse.

  • lonleylibertarian

    Meanwhile the guy not good enough for a QO keeps cruising along in Philly – Nothing better than a good “I told you so” :-)

    • StevePegues

      From the Simpsons…

      Mr Burns: “You know, Smithers, I told you so has a brother. His name is ‘Shut the Hell Up.'”

      • Leefoo Rug Bug

        Steve…couldn’t have said it better myself!

  • Joe Sweetnich

    Most likely Irwin up just to cover a worn out pitching staff. Would expect Irwin to be exchanged for Lambo in a couple of days or after whenever Irwin gets into a game.

  • IC Bob

    I guess we decided to bring up the worst performing pitcher we had thats available (Locke already pounded us yesterday). Looks to me like we are going after Houston and Arizona for the first pick

  • moose7195

    Just as long as it isn’t Wandy

  • st1300b

    Things currently are about worse than anyone was suggesting prior to the season – however the worse has gotten really crappy with the bullpen being awful. I didn’t feel strong about Grilli and Melancon – but I did feel good about the other guys and they’ve not been good either.
    I know it’s not going to happen – but just sayin – If Hanson and Polanco both came up, I’d feel more confident about our chances going forward than with Mercer/Snider/Tabata… I’ve always been a fan of Harrison as a super U guy – not a starting RF, but starting everywhere to give different guys a day off as needed. Just Sayin… better shot IMO.

    • moose7195

      You think a guy with barely any AA experience, much less AAA experience, is ready to come up and play well now? All that will do is make you hate Hanson when he doesn’t prove to be better than Mercer in 2014. Give it time, this season is far from over, and a better hitting SS wont fix this team. They didn’t have a better hitting SS last year, their problems are everywhere else, starting with the pitching staff

    • CalipariFan506

      I think trading Liriano and or Martin in July if things continue like this is a better way to fix the SS issue than calling Hanson up prematurely.