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Bucs' bullpen takes hit with Crick to injured list

Pittsburgh calls up No. 11 prospect Martin for outfield help
@adamdberry
April 5, 2019

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates added to their injury-depleted outfield on Friday, but put one of their top relievers on the shelf. Pittsburgh called up outfielder Jason Martin from Triple-A Indianapolis, giving manager Clint Hurdle another option in left field while Corey Dickerson is sidelined. Right-hander Kyle Crick was placed on

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates added to their injury-depleted outfield on Friday, but put one of their top relievers on the shelf.

Pittsburgh called up outfielder Jason Martin from Triple-A Indianapolis, giving manager Clint Hurdle another option in left field while Corey Dickerson is sidelined. Right-hander Kyle Crick was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Thursday, due to right triceps tightness.

Crick, a key high-leverage arm in front of setup man Keone Kela and closer Felipe Vazquez, struck out three batters without allowing a baserunner in his first two appearances of the season. He said he felt his triceps tighten up near the end of his appearance on Wednesday, took Thursday off and felt some tightness when he played catch on Friday.

Rather than risk a more serious injury, the Pirates decided to sideline Crick for what the right-hander said will “absolutely” be a short stint on the injured list.

“I think the safe move will just be to give it a couple days,” Crick said. “I was feeling good. Toward the end of the last outing, I felt it tighten up a little on the mound. When I got off, I was like, ‘OK, this is abnormal and we need to address it.’ That’s what we did.”

The Pirates still have a full bullpen. They carried eight relievers into Thursday’s 2-0 win over the Reds, likely knowing that they’d be without Kela (due to his pitch count on Wednesday) and Crick.

To rebalance their bench, the Bucs recalled Martin, their No. 11 prospect according to MLB Pipeline. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind week for the 23-year-old. Rather than traveling to Columbus, Ohio, for Indianapolis’ season opener on Thursday, he made his way to Pittsburgh after news of Dickerson’s strained shoulder surfaced. Martin, who joined the Pirates in the Gerrit Cole trade, received word of his callup in time to get his parents, fiancée, sister and agent into town for his potential debut.

No, he wasn’t expecting to find himself in a Major League clubhouse before taking the field in Triple-A this year.

“But I’m more than excited to be here,” Martin said.

Martin slashed .325/.392/.522 for Double-A Altoona last season, but batted just .211 with a .589 OPS in Triple-A. Martin put together an encouraging showing in Spring Training, however, going 7-for-23 with two homers and two triples. He is capable of playing left and center field.

“Just going out, trying to play hard every day and not knowing when my opportunity is going to come,” Martin said. “The thing you want to do is just be ready when it is there. I feel like I’m ready.”

Martin should get into the lineup this weekend, as Hurdle said he wanted to give everyone a start before the end of the homestand. But there was another new face starting in left field for the first time on Friday night: Colin Moran.

Moran played four games in left for Triple-A Fresno in 2017, but the Pirates are searching for solutions -- and offense -- while they’re without Dickerson, Gregory Polanco and Lonnie Chisenhall. They’re going to see if Moran can handle PNC Park’s spacious left field.

“You lose Dickerson’s bat, you can run some different guys out there. I don’t know if there’s something there that we can find and can harvest,” Hurdle said. “You don’t know until you put him out there. We’ll see. If anything wrong goes on out there, that’s on me. That’s on me giving him a shot. He’s willing to go out there.”

Moran, a third baseman who also took up first base on a more regular basis this spring, fielded fly balls for the first time on Thursday and spent more time in left during batting practice on Friday afternoon.

“It’s not as easy as people might think it is. It’s a big area of ground to cover. We told him get to what you get to,” Hurdle said. “There’s no such thing as a bad catch. Hit the cut-off man when you get it. We’ll see where it takes us.”

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