Bucs shuffle roster as Tabata, Volstad DFA'd
Hernandez, Lombardozzi added to bench
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates made a series of roster moves Sunday morning, calling up two outfielders as they balanced out their bench and bullpen.
Pittsburgh designated outfielder Jose Tabata and right-hander Chris Volstad for assignment. To fill their spots on the active roster, the Bucs selected the contract of outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and recalled utility man Steve Lombardozzi from Triple-A Indianapolis.
By sending out Volstad and bringing in two position players, the Pirates once again have a five-man bench and a seven-man bullpen.
"It was naturally going to happen at some point in time," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "We decided to go ahead and make that move to rebalance it today."
The Pirates have 10 days to trade or release Tabata and Volstad. After that, both players can refuse an outright assignment or report back to Indianapolis. Huntington said the Pirates hope to keep both in their organization.
This is the third time in the last two years the Pirates have designated Tabata, 26, for assignment. After rejoining the team in May, he emerged as manager Clint Hurdle's top pinch-hitting option, batting .289 with a .341 on-base percentage, but no extra-base hits.
Last year, the Pirates outrighted him to Triple-A in June and did so again in October. Tabata's contract, a long-term deal signed in 2011, is guaranteed through next season.
Volstad, 28, made it back to the Majors for the first time since 2013 to help shore up an overworked bullpen. Volstad made one appearance Wednesday, throwing two scoreless innings.
This will be Lombardozzi's second stint with the Pirates, as he was called up on May 6 and optioned back to Indianapolis on May 16. He's hit .316/.375/.368 in 60 games in the Minors.
Hernandez, 27, is back in the Majors for the first time since 2012. He was hitting .275/.359/.415 with five homers and 28 RBIs while primarily playing center field for Indianapolis. He was in the starting lineup for Sunday's finale vs. the Braves.
"Our staff had really talked about the job that he'd been doing since Spring Training," Huntington said. "They've said he's carried over most of the adjustments that allowed him to have a good spring. Quite honestly, we wanted to take a look and see what he would bring in comparison to Jose."
Around the horn
• Pirates No. 2 prospect Jameson Taillon (lower abdominal discomfort) is headed for a second opinion, Huntington said. The right-hander was working his way back from Tommy John surgery in extended spring camp, but the abdominal injury has halted his progress.
• Corey Hart (shoulder impingement) is "making progress," Huntington said, and the Pirates hope to send him on a Minor League rehab assignment soon.
• Andrew Lambo (plantar fasciitis) is still not 100 percent, but he is "moving forward in baseball activities," Huntington said.