Frazier goes on disabled list; Luplow returns

Pirates bring back Neverauskas, option Barbato to Triple-A

August 28th, 2017

CHICAGO -- 's strained right hamstring led the Pirates to make a pair of roster moves before their series opener against the Cubs on Monday night.

Frazier was placed on the 10-day disabled list, and the Pirates called up reliever from Triple-A Indianapolis to take Frazier's spot on the roster. To balance their bullpen and bench, the Bucs optioned reliever Johnny Barbato to Triple-A and recalled rookie outfielder .

Had Frazier's injury taken place after rosters expand from 25 to 40 players Friday, the second-year super-utility man probably would have remained active. The Pirates didn't want to face the Cubs with a short bench, however, so they put Frazier on the disabled list.

"We're playing a first-place team. We're seven [games] behind. We've got a chance of making up some ground," manager Clint Hurdle said. "The degree of the injury, if you're going to try to play without him for a couple days, it's hard right now. If he's limited in some capacity, that's hard right now."

Frazier tweaked his hamstring and exited Sunday's series finale early after attempting to beat a double-play grounder to first base. He had taken on an everyday role in right fielder 's absence, bouncing between the outfield corners and second base. He also found his swing after a rough stretch, batting .330/.389/.455 in 37 games since the All-Star break.

Without Frazier or Polanco, the Pirates will turn to , , and Luplow in right field. Osuna started in right field Monday night against Cubs left-hander Mike Montgomery.

This is Luplow's second stint with the Pirates this season. The 23-year-old outfielder went 0-for-9 with a walk and three strikeouts over four games in his first trip to the Majors. He hit .326/.396/.465 with two homers in 23 games after he returned to Triple-A. Given Polanco's uncertain status and the Pirates' lack of outfielders, Luplow likely would have been a September callup anyway.

"I think I got the lay of the land a little bit," Luplow said. "A little more comfortable this go-'round. Hopefully I can go out there and stay within myself."

Neverauskas was optioned to Triple-A last Tuesday, but he was able to return Monday without spending 10 days in the Minors because he technically replaced the injured Frazier. The rookie right-hander has allowed one run on three hits while striking out seven over six appearances in the Majors this month.

Barbato has posted a 4.74 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in 24 2/3 innings over 18 appearances for the Pirates. He likely will return to the bullpen at some point in early September.

The Pirates also figure to activate veteran relievers (left quad strain), (left knee inflammation) and (right groin strain) within the next week. LeBlanc and Benoit are scheduled to pitch in a simulated game Tuesday afternoon. LeBlanc was eligible to come off the disabled list Monday, with Kontos (Wednesday) and Benoit (Friday) not far behind.