MILWAUKEE -- Nick Kingham (King Vegas) learned of his most recent callup to the Majors at 2:30 a.m. ET through a phone call from Triple-A Indianapolis manager Brian Esposito. The Pirates, who had just finished a 15-inning defeat against the Brewers in Milwaukee, needed a fresh arm in the bullpen for their
MILWAUKEE -- Nick Kingham (King Vegas) learned of his most recent callup to the Majors at 2:30 a.m. ET through a phone call from Triple-A Indianapolis manager Brian Esposito. The Pirates, who had just finished a 15-inning defeat against the Brewers in Milwaukee, needed a fresh arm in the bullpen for their series in Milwaukee.
"He's in my accepted list of calls," Kingham said. "I rolled over, heard the phone buzzing by accident.
"It was a 13-second call. He told me, 'The game just ended. They played 15, so you're going up. I imagine you'll be in the 'pen. Just listen for a call with flight [information].'"
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Kingham was scheduled to start on Saturday for Indianapolis, so he went to bed early on Friday night. He checked the score before going to bed and saw the Pirates had just tied the game on a two-out single in the ninth by Starling Marte, but he had no idea what had happened when his manager woke him up a few hours later.
"When I went to bed, I didn't think I was going to be here," Kingham said. "But now I'm here and I'm going to make the most of this opportunity."
That opportunity will come in a little different manner than Kingham, 26, is used to. He'll be working out of the Pirates' bullpen, primarily as a long-relief option after manager Clint Hurdle threw Felipe Vazquez for two innings and Steven Brault for four more in the marathon defeat.
All 12 of his previous big league appearances this season have come as a starter, and his 13 Minor League appearances this season have been starts, as well. In fact, of his 159 professional appearances across all levels of the Pirates' system, Kingham has come out of the bullpen a total of five times since he was taken in the fourth round of the 2010 Draft.
"It's something I haven't done many times," Kingham admitted. "But if this is where they see that I fit, then I'm more than happy to fill this role and help the team."
Kingham dazzled in his big league debut on April 29, allowing one hit over seven scoreless innings while striking out nine in a victory over the Cardinals. But he posted a 4.76 ERA over his next five outings and was sent to Indianapolis when Ivan Nova came off the disabled list on June 10.
He returned to the Majors on July 2, allowing seven runs (five earned) in three innings against Dodgers but rebounded by winning his next three starts, posting a combined 2.89 ERA before the Mets tagged him for seven over three innings on July 26.
Kingham got one more start but lasted one inning after giving up four runs (two earned) on three hits and a walk, which led to his most recent demotion.
"You take it for what it is," Kingham said of his up-and-down rookie season. "You learn from the good, learn from the bad and be thankful for the opportunities. You never know when another opportunity is going to come."
• To make room for Kingham on the active roster, Pittsburgh optioned right-hander Clay Holmes to Indianapolis Saturday. Holmes took the loss Friday after allowing three runs on two hits and three walks in the 15th inning.
• Hurdle didn't have an update on the status of reliever Kyle Crick, who was unavailable Friday night because of back pain that Hurdle said stemmed from taking a line drive to the back against the Braves. Crick has a 2.40 ERA in 48 2/3 innings this season.
"He was getting treatment earlier and we'll find out more as the day goes on," Hurdle said.
Andrew Wagner is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.