Bucs call up 6, including trio of righties
Anderson, Feliz, Holmes set to boost bullpen; Pirates DFA Boshers
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates made their second round of September callups on Tuesday afternoon, a day after Triple-A Indianapolis' season ended.
Pittsburgh recalled right-handers Tanner Anderson, Michael Feliz and Clay Holmes from Indianapolis, along with outfielder Jordan Luplow. The Pirates also added infielder Kevin Kramer, their No. 7 prospect, and Ryan Lavarnway, a journeyman catcher who hit well in Triple-A, and they cleared the necessary spot on their 40-man roster by designating left-hander Player Page for Buddy Boshers for assignment.
"Obviously, [I'm] very excited to be here, grateful for the opportunity first and foremost," Kramer said. "It's a great clubhouse to walk into. The guys that I've played with and the guys that I've met in Spring Training, they've all been awesome and have made me feel very welcome so far."
Kramer will wear No. 44 and Lavarnway will wear No. 63.
Kramer has hit for average and power while moving around the infield the past two seasons. He batted .311 with an .856 OPS, 15 homers and 59 RBIs in 129 games for Indianapolis this year. Kramer struggled at the plate in May, decided to prioritize his timing over everything else, then batted .343 with a .934 OPS over his final 82 games.
"When I started doing that, it freed me up just to go out there and compete," Kramer said. "There are still things that I need to work on, and I know that. I know what those areas are, and that's something that I will look to do here and take that into the offseason, but I think that I gave myself more of a chance."
General manager Neal Huntington said recently that Kramer is an option at second and third base, but that he has also spent time at shortstop. Manager Clint Hurdle said Kramer will see time at second and third this month.
Infielder Kevin Newman and Kramer were two of the Pirates' first three picks in the 2015 Draft. They could get a chance to man the middle infield together over the next month, Hurdle said, potentially setting themselves up for more prominent roles next season.
"Where it goes from there, time will tell," Hurdle said. "There's some familiarity there, hopefully, they can take advantage of."
Lavarnway, 31, is back in the big leagues for the first time since August 2017. The Pirates signed him to a Minor League contract this offseason and assigned him to Triple-A, where he hit .288/.375/.485 over 303 plate appearances. A catcher by trade, Lavarnway can also play first base.
Hurdle said it's unclear if catcher Elias Diaz will return from his hamstring injury this season, so they wanted to call up a third catcher to join Francisco Cervelli and Jacob Stallings. The Pirates also wanted to show their respect for what Lavarnway accomplished this season.
"He poured into [Indianapolis' pitching] staff. He poured into a team," Hurdle said. "His season got stronger as the season went on. He had a bunch of fun, and he enjoyed, I think, the interaction and sharing experience, because he's got some experience. We just thought it was a good fit."
Luplow, who has hit .194 in his first 138 Major League plate appearances, will see some playing time as a backup outfielder. Anderson, Feliz and Holmes will provide extra depth in the bullpen as the Pirates evaluate their options for next season.
The Pirates claimed Boshers off waivers from the Astros on Aug. 7 and recalled him from Triple-A on Aug. 11. Boshers did not pitch for the big league club before being optioned back to Indianapolis on Aug. 20.