PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates made six roster moves on Tuesday, sending Dovydas Neverauskas to Triple-A Indianapolis and placing Joaquin Benoit and George Kontos to the 10-day disabled list. In their place, Johnny Barbato, Steven Brault and Edgar Santana have been recalled.
The moves were necessary because the Pirates exhausted their bullpen with a 12-inning game on Monday.
Manager Clint Hurdle spoke to the media before them moves were made official on Tuesday and he declined to speak specifically about any of the players who are involved.
Of the rest of his relievers, he said that Juan Nicasio and A.J. Schugel will not be available and Felipe Rivero is questionable. Daniel Hudson should be good to go. That gives the Pirates at best five relievers that they’re comfortable using, a day after taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers with just four ready arms.
Kontos has been battling a right groin strain. He attempted to pitch on Sunday in Williamsport, but injured it while warming up. On Monday, he threw before the game and thought he would be good to go, but against felt something as he was warming up to enter the game. He hopes to be ready again in ten days.
“I think it would only be ten days,” Kontos said. “It was just kind of a fluke thing. I’ve never dealt with this before, but I just felt that it was better to err on the side of caution as opposed to going out there and really, really hurting something.”
Kontos’ trip to the disabled list will be retroactive to Aug. 20, meaning he is eligible to return on Aug. 30.
Benoit pitched two innings on Monday without giving up a hit. He did walk four batters and struck out one. He did not appear to be in any discomfort after the game. He is listed as having left knee inflammation.
Neverauskas had never pitched in three consecutive games before doing so on Monday, according to Hurdle and was the only reliever with an option, which made him an unfortunate victim of circumstance as the team needed fresher arms. He’s been pitching well with just one run — Yasiel Puig’s game-winning home run on Monday — in 6.2 innings in August.
Starling Marte didn’t have an easy time adjusting back to the major leagues when he came off his suspension in late July.
He hit .250 in the month of July, but with little power — just one extra-base hit — and two walks, for a .304 OBP. That combined to give him a .573 OPS.
But he’s been hitting much better recently. An 0-for-6 night on Monday snapped a six-game hitting streak that saw him hit .520/.571/.720. He’s still not taking walks, but the power is starting to rebound, which may have been a legitimate concern given the nature of his suspension. His recent rebound seems to have allayed some of those fears.
“I think he’s worked in a very professional manner since he’s been back,” Hurdle said. “The thing I liked is that he didn’t get outside himself. He didn’t try to overcompensate any certain area. He didn’t try to create bat speed. He just stayed in the box, kept seeing pitches, fighting pitches off, trying to get his timing down and hitting the ball to the big part of the field. It was hard. He’s gotten to a much better spot.”
Taillon 4.64 vs Brock Stewart 1.64
— Alan Saunders (@ASaunders_PGH) August 22, 2017