Pirates Notebook: Don’t Expect Too Many September Call-Ups this Year

PITTSBURGH — The Pirates activated relief pitchers Joaquin Benoit and Wade LeBlanc from the disabled list as MLB rosters expanded to 40 men on Friday, but they won’t be joined by anyone else right away.

Those were the Pirates only two moves, instead allowing the rest of the team’s younger players to finish their season with Triple-A Indianapolis before being recalled. The Indians have clinched their division and will play a five-game series with Durham that will run from Sept. 6 to Sept. 10. If they win that series, they will play a five-game finals series.

That could take the Indians all the way to the middle of September, but manager Clint Hurdle isn’t concerned with getting those players to the majors quicker than that.

“I don’t anticipate us making any call-ups at all until the playoff season are over for Altoona and Indy,” Hurdle said. “We, as an organization, believe there’s gainful experience for the guys that are down there. We’ve added two men in the bullpen right now. We’ve got a third one coming back soon.”

The other piece of balancing that Hurdle must do is what to do with the other players that are either not returning or are unlikely to return, like John Jaso. Jaso is in the starting lineup Friday, along with catcher Chris Stewart and all of the rest of the team’s regulars.

Hurdle said there’s a level of accountability that he feels to those players, as well.

“We’ve got some guys that have been for periods of time that it might be their last month in a Pirates uniform,” Hurdle said. “There’s lots to be said for the relationship you’ve built over that time. This isn’t about 30 days, more often it’s about what they’ve pushed in and what we’ve worked toward together. You always look to still keep people engaged in the game when it makes sense.”


When the Pirates do make some moves, Hurdle doesn’t expect it to be a large number of players coming up to contribute, but he does have a few that he’s specifically looking forward to getting some major-league experience.

“We’re not talking about that many guys, but to get [Tyler] Glasnow get re-plugged in, yeah, that’s definitely on our radar,” Hurdle said. “To get [Steven] Brault some starts, that’s definitely on our radar, and there’s a couple of other pitchers down there. [Edgar] Santana is a guy we’ve had a couple times that we’d like to look at.”


With Juan Nicasio being waived and claimed by the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, the Pirates have a hole to fill at the back end of the bullpen. Hurdle said that George Kontos will be the primary option for the eighth inning once he returns from the disabled list. Until then, Daniel Hudson and Dovydas Neverauskas will share the role.

It’s been a continual progression from mop-up duty to bigger and bigger roles for Neverauskas, who seemingly has earned the trust of the front office and Hurdle’s staff.

“We like the way the young man, Neverauskas, has pitched,” Hurdle said. “We like the way he’s taken the ball. He’s had a couple hold opportunities, a couple of leverage opportunities and he’s pitched well. Even coming in the other night and facing the one left-hander late, he executed pitches. You saw the velocity, you saw spin.

“Nicasio’s not here, so we have to find some answers going forward. We’d like to have Hudson get a foothold this last month of the season and doing what he’s capable of doing moving into next year.”


Ivan Nova will have has next start skipped as the team tries to give the 30-year-old a breather. He’ll cross his career high in innings pitched during his next start. Steven Brault will move from the bullpen to starting in on Tuesday against Chicago.

“We’re just giving him a chance to catch his breath,” Hurdle said. “(One start) is all we’ve talked about as of now.”

Hurdle added that the team currently does not have plans to skip or shut down any other starter. Nova said that the club hasn’t approached him about shutting down for the season.

  • They should have had Nova skip a start about 3-4 weeks ago.
    That is when he first showed he needed a break.

  • If the Pirate organization doesn’t care, why should I ????????? As my frustration continues to grow with this franchise !!!

  • This was just a long article saying “Hey look we’ve had success at the minor league level. We know what we are doing” it’s also another BS thing NH can point to as “progress” during press conferences…..”look at our aggregate organizational record, it’s great!” No one gives a shit about that Neil. This to me is definitive proof that they care about the records of the minor league clubs despite what JD thinks. The illusion of success has been impressive under NH. Making the “playoffs” three years in a row on what amounts to a technicality and, a positive organizational aggregate record. I guess the work Nicasio put in didn’t mean anything but, everyone else who sucks and is sucking up opportunities for younger guys to get reps matter? Good plan guys.

  • The Pirate TV announcers were saying tonight the NH said the 2 worst months to evaluate talent are March and September. If that’s the case why are they making a big deal about being able to evaluate talent this month.

  • So if they dont want rookies, why waive nicasio. I used to love nh. Him and hurdle were what we needed them to be. But i think they’ve over stayed their welcome. Hurdle lost the clubhouse and nh won’t pick a direction for the team to go. Either get younger, or don’t. But dont trade watson, trade for a 40 year old has been, let an asset go away while keeping starting the likes of jaso and stewart. Let glasnow abd brault have rotation spots and shut taillon and nova down. Have to get ready for next year

    • Never should about giving Taillon a little rest too
      but with everything he has been through this
      season, letting him skip a start or two might
      be a good idea and prevent a long term injury.

  • Clint, do you want to be a damn camp counselor or a major league manager? How is this acceptable?

  • Still no mention of Kingham.

    • This makes me wonder if they will look to trade him this offseason. They probably need to move one or two of the AAA starters.

      • Every other team will fleece the pirates Bec he’s out of options and had bumps this year. If he had more time in the minors he’d eventually fall into a starter role. I think they’re forced to stash him in the mlb pen. I love Williams but he’s far easier to trade don’t see him going anywhere though.

  • That makes sense. Keep the prospects down in AAA so the vets don’t have their feelings hurt. Really?

  • Well…at least Brault gets a start that’s something I guess.

  • Oy vey … reading the words on the page make my head spin. Just not going to happen without change.