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Bucs might soon get creative with rotation

MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- The Pirates are content with their current five-man rotation, but would like to see Steven Brault and Tyler Glasnow start in September. To that end, they've discussed using a six-man rotation or skipping some scheduled starts after rosters expand Friday.

Starters Gerrit Cole, Ivan Nova, Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl and Trevor Williams are under club control for the foreseeable future. Glasnow has dominated for Triple-A Indianapolis since being bumped out of Pittsburgh's rotation. Brault is in the Bucs' bullpen after posting a 1.94 ERA in Triple-A.

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CINCINNATI -- The Pirates are content with their current five-man rotation, but would like to see Steven Brault and Tyler Glasnow start in September. To that end, they've discussed using a six-man rotation or skipping some scheduled starts after rosters expand Friday.

Starters Gerrit Cole, Ivan Nova, Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl and Trevor Williams are under club control for the foreseeable future. Glasnow has dominated for Triple-A Indianapolis since being bumped out of Pittsburgh's rotation. Brault is in the Bucs' bullpen after posting a 1.94 ERA in Triple-A.

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None of the Pirates' current starters are facing innings limits that would justify shutting them down, so the front office may have to get creative as it evaluates its options. Manager Clint Hurdle said the idea of a six-man rotation is "much more feasible" in September.

"We want to be respectful to those guys who have taken the ball for us all year and who want to continue to take the ball. But we do have the option of plugging in Brault or Glasnow," general manager Neal Huntington said Sunday. "We'll look to do that. We'll have some continued dialogue on a six-man [rotation] or skipping a start here or there. September makes it a lot easier to do because of the roster expansion. It will be more case-by-case than globally."

Video: PIT@NYM: Glasnow whiffs Gsellman in the 4th inning

The Pirates will make their call-ups in two waves, one when rosters expand on Friday and another after Indianapolis' season ends. Don't count on seeing top prospects Austin Meadows or Kevin Newman among them, however.

The Pirates aren't planning to call up Meadows, who's missed time due to injuries, and Newman, who received a midseason promotion to Triple-A. Meadows is open to playing winter ball to make up for the time he lost this season, Huntington said.

Back to the DL
Catcher Francisco Cervelli was understandably frustrated to return to the disabled list Saturday, a day after rejoining the Pirates' lineup, due to left quadriceps irritation. Cervelli felt something "like a cramp" while scoring from second base Friday and exited the game. He missed the prior eight games with left wrist inflammation.

He hopes to return when eligible on Sept. 4. Given his injury history, the Pirates may carry four catchers next month: Cervelli, backup Chris Stewart and rookies Elias Diaz and Jacob Stallings.

"It's stupid, man," Cervelli said of his injury. "I was not expecting this. It's what happened. … I'm going to give my 10 days. When I'm ready, I'll come back and do my thing."

Kang's next step
Third baseman Jung Ho Kang has spent the season on the Pirates' restricted list, working out in South Korea as he's been unable to acquire a work visa following an offseason arrest for driving under the influence, his third such charge since 2009. The Pirates hope to see Kang play winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

"We know we have a club that will play him, provided we can get him into the country," Huntington said. "In our minds, this is the best level of competition we could get him in the offseason."

The Pirates have prepared for the possibility that Kang cannot acquire a work visa for 2018, either, but remain hopeful he will rejoin them next year.

"It will be a huge benefit for him to play. It also will be a huge benefit for us to see him play," Huntington said. "He'll prepare himself to play in games down there and hopefully roll that right into Spring Training, if we're able to secure him a visa."

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

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