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.