Pirates Notes: Chad Kuhl and Jameson Taillon to Have Next Starts Skipped

PITTSBURGH — The Pirates called up a bunch of starting pitchers over the last few weeks. Thursday, they outlined their plan on how to use them.

Chad Kuhl and Jameson Taillon will both have their next starts skipped, meaning that Drew Hutchison will draw Kuhl’s start Saturday. Taillon’s next start will be taken by Gerrit Cole when comes off the disabled list Monday.

Clint Hurdle said the decision to skip Kuhl and Taillon was “basically about innings.” Hutchison found himself at the top of the list mostly as a matter of convenience.

“We threw [Trevor Williams] three innings last night,” said manager Clint Hurdle. “Williams and him are the two guys we were considering.”

Hurdle is confident in Hutchison’s ability to acquit himself at the major-league level, given his previous experience.

“He was the opening day starter for Toronto last year,” Hurdle said. “This isn’t a guy that just showed up and hasn’t pitched before. We have confidence in his ability. He’s glad to be a Pirate. He’s glad to be here. Now, he’s going to get an opportunity to start a game.”

That means that Williams and Glasnow will mostly work out of the bullpen. It’s an interesting decision for the Pirates to move one of their top pitching arms into relief. It’s a practice that is somewhat out of style around the majors, but one the Pirates will help with Glasnow, who has struggled with fastball control and his off-speed pitches all season.

“The Cardinals have done it recently,” Hurdle said. “In the olden days, when I played, that’s where the prospects came up and pitched — in the bullpen. … It’s an opportunity to pitch in a more controlled situation. Whether it would be [two or three innings] or maybe some shorter looks to fine tune some things, [he can] get case-specific and tactic-specific on things and nail the delivery, the release point. There’s been hot and cold. We’re looking for some consistency.”

For Williams, the move to the ‘pen is more of an audition. The Pirates have Cole and Taillon as seemingly locks for the 2017 rotation. Steven Brault, Glasnow, Kuhl and Williams are all in the mix, but there clearly won’t be room for all of them. The Pirates are hoping to get an early look at Williams in a long-relief role.

“You’d like to have one or two of your [young] guys be a multiple-inning guy out there and continue to develop them and use them for depth as sixth starter or a guy that can give you multiple innings when you need them,” Hurdle said. “Also, it can enhance their opportunity to sharpen their pitches at this level. … I don’t want to speak for him, but I think he’ll tell you that might be the best lineup he’s faced this year. To get three innings of it, that’s a great game experience for him.”

Williams definitely agreed.

“You want to show how diverse you can be,” Williams said. “You can be a chameleon. I was a reliever in college my freshman. I relieved a little bit in the fall league last year. You just want to be a Swiss-Army knife and just perform when your name is called. Obviously, I don’t care whether I’m starting or relieving right now, I just want to help the team out.”


Josh Bell will make his first start in four days, but it will be at right field instead of his regular first base spot. Hurdle said he simply “liked the match-ups” that lead to him starting John Jaso and David Freese at first against the Cardinals. Hurdle showed no hesitation for putting Bell in the outfield.

“He’s got more innings in right field than he has at first base,” Hurdle said.

Bell took extra outfield practice with Rick Sofield, focusing on playing balls off the Clemente Wall.


Starling Marte will miss his third consecutive game with back spasms.

“He reminded me of myself out there in 2014, trying to make pitching changes,” Hurdle joked.

A.J. Schugel (arm discomfort) said he expects to return this season, but did not have a specific time-frame. He hopes to resume pitching in the next week.

  • I do not understand why Bell is having such a difficult time adjusting to first base. Is he afraid of getting hit by the ball? Seems like the Bucs are giving up on him.

  • I’m glad to see Hurdle at least had the sense to pitch Hutchison vs Reds instead of Cole, because we know how that story turns out every single freaking time.

  • I feel bad for Hutchison, being the poster boy for the heavily criticized trade. Arguably 5 of his 7 starts for Indy were mediocre, but his last start was a good one. Let’s hope he has good stuff this weekend.

  • When we were keeping Bell down in Indy, didn’t Clint say that it wouldn’t be fair to put Bell in RF, since he’s been playing 1b the last two years?

    C’mon Clint….be consistent.

  • Mr Hurdle: Umm, Ron Villone was once an opening day SP for us.

    That doesn’t make him any good.

    I’m sure PNC will be sold out to watch Drew H.

    • ROAD TRIP!!!!!!! I actually was supposed to be out there for that game until stuff happened.

    • The same kinds of remarks were made when we got Happ and Nova. Let’s see what happens first.

    • If they lose out they will pick in the top 10. It’s starting to look like that is their goal. Anyone that buys a ticket to see this mess the front office systematically created is out of their mind.