The Pittsburgh Pirates have made a few roster moves with their bullpen today, following last night’s blowout loss to the Angels. They have recalled left-handed pitcher Cory Luebke and selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Curtis Partch from Indianapolis. To make room on the 40-man roster for Partch, Ryan Vogelsong has been transferred to the 60-day DL. To make room on the active roster, they have optioned Wilfredo Boscan and Rob Scahill to Indianapolis.
Boscan and Scahill were both used for extended appearances last night. Scahill threw 2.1 shutout innings, while also stranding two of Francisco Liriano’s runners in the process. Boscan entered the game for the final 3.1 innings. He stranded two runners that Scahill left on in the sixth, but then gave up two runs in his outing.
Luebke has been in the big leagues twice this year. He started the season on the big league roster, then was placed on the disabled list with hamstring tightness. He returned briefly, but was sent back down to get more regular work. Since that point, he has thrown six innings, giving up one run on no walks and four hits, with 11 strikeouts. The K/BB ratio is encouraging, especially with the zero walks, since that was a big problem for him in his time in the big leagues. It seems he’s up due to necessity right now, but we’ll see how his recent work will translate over to the majors this time.
Partch is having an interesting season, posting a 1.30 ERA in 27.2 innings, with a 32:9 K/BB ratio. He’s a hard thrower, capable of hitting the upper 90s with his fastball, but has dealt with some control problems throughout his career. The walk numbers are down this year, so this is another case where we’ll see whether the Triple-A improvements can carry over to the big leagues.
If Boscan and Scahill didn’t pitch last night, I’m not sure these moves are made today. It’s not like the Pirates are upgrading the bullpen here from a talent perspective. They basically have a lot of options who have looked good in Triple-A, and the hope with the current bullpen is that one or two of those options can come up and continue having success at the big league level. So while Luebke and Partch are only being called up to help out a short bullpen, they now have an opportunity to stand out and win more time on the roster, since no one is really blocking them if they perform well.