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Bucs recall Osuna to fill Kingham's roster spot

MLB.com @adamdberry

CHICAGO -- On Tuesday, the Pirates recalled Jose Osuna from Triple-A Indianapolis, and the corner infielder/outfielder should stick around in the Majors a little longer than he did last time.

The Bucs optioned right-hander Nick Kingham to Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday. They officially filled his roster spot Tuesday and started the hot-hitting Osuna at first base in their series opener against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Osuna drove in the Pirates' first run of the game in Tuesday's 10-6 victory, finishing 1-for-5 at the plate.

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CHICAGO -- On Tuesday, the Pirates recalled Jose Osuna from Triple-A Indianapolis, and the corner infielder/outfielder should stick around in the Majors a little longer than he did last time.

The Bucs optioned right-hander Nick Kingham to Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday. They officially filled his roster spot Tuesday and started the hot-hitting Osuna at first base in their series opener against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field. Osuna drove in the Pirates' first run of the game in Tuesday's 10-6 victory, finishing 1-for-5 at the plate.

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"I'm happy to be here. It's really good," Osuna said. "I hope I can stay here for the rest of the season and help the team to win."

Osuna spent most of last season with the Pirates, never returning to Triple-A after they called him up on April 18. But before Tuesday, he had made just one big league appearance this year, when he went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer in the second half of a doubleheader on April 25.

Osuna went back to Triple-A, continued to rake at the plate and worked to improve at third base and in right field. He was named the International League Player of the Month for April, and entered Tuesday with an International League-leading 1.037 OPS.

"I can't control their decisions," Osuna said, "So I have to keep working hard."

That mindset impressed manager Clint Hurdle and Pittsburgh's front office. After another impressive Spring Training, Osuna was left off the Pirates' Opening Day roster only because management decided to carry 13 pitchers, including eight relievers, and four reserve position players.

"He's a grown man that's looking for that extended opportunity to make an impact and help a team win games," Hurdle said. "We believe it's with us, and we'll see where this opportunity can take him and take us together."

Kingham carried a perfect game into the seventh inning of his Major League debut, which allowed him to remain in the rotation for one more start and beat the Brewers in Milwaukee on Friday, striking out seven while giving up four runs over 5 1/3 innings. But, the Pirates have three off-days within a weeklong stretch and don't need a fifth starter until May 19. They can get by until then with a four-man rotation consisting of Ivan Nova, Trevor Williams, Jameson Taillon and Chad Kuhl.

Video: Kingham flirts with perfect game in MLB debut

"The fact that [Kingham] pushed to this point and won two games while he was up here makes a difference," Hurdle said. "However, none of these four men have pitched their way off the club."

Hurdle said he spoke with Kingham for 15 minutes on Monday, calling it "one of the better conversations I've had with a player that we ended up sending down." If Kingham stays on turn in Triple-A, he should be lined up to pitch the next time the Pirates need a spot start.

"Our intent is to send him down and pitch every fifth day," Hurdle said. "We'll see what our schedule presents itself to, about another opportunity in the not-too-distant future if it works that way."

Musgrove update
Right-hander Joe Musgrove (shoulder strain) made his second rehab start on Monday for Double-A Altoona. Musgrove needed only 34 pitches to complete four innings, as he gave up a run on two hits while striking out four. Musgrove threw 31 more pitches in the bullpen to reach his prescribed workload.

The Pirates are tentatively planning for Musgrove to make his next rehab start -- a five-inning outing -- in Triple-A. Musgrove will need at least one more start after that -- a six-inning/100-pitch outing -- before he's ready to join the Pirates' rotation.

"Everything seems to be trending in a good way," Hurdle said.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Nick Kingham, Joe Musgrove, Jose Osuna