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Pirates send Feliz to Triple-A, call up McRae

MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates demoted struggling reliever Michael Feliz on Friday to make room for a fresh arm in their bullpen.

Before Friday's game against the Mets at PNC Park, the Pirates optioned Feliz to Triple-A Indianapolis and recalled right-hander Alex McRae for the second time this season. McRae had a brief stint in the Majors from July 7-9 but did not pitch.

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PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates demoted struggling reliever Michael Feliz on Friday to make room for a fresh arm in their bullpen.

Before Friday's game against the Mets at PNC Park, the Pirates optioned Feliz to Triple-A Indianapolis and recalled right-hander Alex McRae for the second time this season. McRae had a brief stint in the Majors from July 7-9 but did not pitch.

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The Pirates acquired Feliz from the Astros in January as part of their return -- along with Joe Musgrove, Colin Moran and outfield prospect Jason Martin -- for Gerrit Cole. The 25-year-old right-hander began the season as Pittsburgh's primary setup man and, after an ugly outing on Opening Day, pitched well until late May.

But in 17 outings since May 23, Feliz posted an 8.27 ERA in 20 2/3 innings. During that stretch, opponents hit .318/.396/.529 against him, and Feliz spent more than two weeks on the disabled list due to right shoulder inflammation. He also lost his claim of a setup role, which has since been filled by Kyle Crick and Edgar Santana.

Overall, Feliz has a 5.53 ERA and 1.50 WHIP in 39 appearances. He has 47 strikeouts in 40 2/3 innings, but he's walked four batters per nine innings and allowed 9.5 hits per nine.

Feliz gave up two runs on three hits in two innings during the Pirates' 12-6 loss to the Mets on Thursday. With Feliz (35 pitches), Tyler Glasnow (57 pitches) and Richard Rodriguez (27 pitches) presumably unavailable out of the bullpen, the Bucs needed another arm on Friday to back up starter Ivan Nova.

Video: BAL@PIT: McRae gets Rickard swinging in the 2nd

Pittsburgh chose to recall McRae, who last pitched for Indianapolis on Sunday. The 25-year-old right-hander is 3-8 with a 4.76 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in Triple-A.

Injury update
Center fielder Starling Marte (left hand discomfort) and left fielder Corey Dickerson (left hamstring strain) did not return to the lineup on Friday, but both indicated they were feeling better.

Marte said he was ready to resume baseball activities. Marte said he felt a "bother," not pain, in his bruised hand when he tried to grip a bat on Thursday. He planned to make another attempt on Friday.

"I don't think it's too soon," Marte said through interpreter Mike Gonzalez. "If everyone approves and I feel good, I'm ready to play."

Video: PIT@CLE: Marte gets hit on the hand, exits the game

Dickerson, who has been sidelined since exiting Tuesday's game, worked out and ran on Friday. He said his hamstring injury was mild, not even diagnosed as a Grade 1 strain, and there has been no discussion about him going on the disabled list. Still, Dickerson wants to be cautious so he doesn't aggravate the injury.

"Not being able to play and help the team is hard. It's tough," Dickerson said. "But I'd rather be here a majority of the games than do something crazy and miss most of the rest of the season."

The Pirates have been without their two best players since the first inning of Wednesday's game, when Marte was hit in the hand. Jordan Luplow made his third straight start in left field on Friday, and Sean Rodriguez started in center for the second consecutive day against Mets left-hander Jason Vargas.

If their injuries linger, would the Pirates consider recalling rookie outfielder Austin Meadows?

"We'll just wait and find out. We've never thrown a guy on the DL without giving him a couple days to work through it," manager Clint Hurdle said. "These situations aren't any different than any we've had in the past. There'll come a point in time where we need to make a decision, then [GM Neal Huntington] and I will have those discussions about who needs to be the guy called up in case somebody would go on the DL."

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

Pittsburgh Pirates, Corey Dickerson, Michael Feliz, Starling Marte, Alex McRae