WASHINGTON -- The Jonathon Niese experiment is over, at least for now.

The Pirates will move the left-handed pitcher to the bullpen for the second half of the season, manager Clint Hurdle said Friday afternoon. Niese carries a career-high 5.13 ERA after 18 starts and the emergence of several young pitchers has made his spot in the rotation fungible.

"I would rather start, obviously. It's where my heart's at. But as long as I'm toeing the rubber, I'm happy. I'll go down there and help the team win. Last year, I went down there at the end of the year and had a little bit of success.”

The amount of Niese’s success in the bullpen is relative. He had a 2.45 ERA in relief versus a 4.16 ERA as a starter. But he had an underwhelming 1.91 WHIP and had an unusually high strand rate (85.7 pe...

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