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Pirates option Glasnow amid roster moves

No. 21 prospect Santana, Schugel called up; Neverauskas also sent down
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates bumped struggling rookie Tyler Glasnow out of their rotation on Saturday, sent down reliever Dovydas Neverauskas and called up two arms to bolster their overworked bullpen.

Glasnow and Neverauskas were optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis before Pittsburgh's game against Miami on Saturday afternoon. The Bucs added two relievers: right-hander A.J. Schugel and prospect Edgar Santana. To make room on the 40-man roster for Santana, the Pirates designated right-hander Pat Light for assignment.

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PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates bumped struggling rookie Tyler Glasnow out of their rotation on Saturday, sent down reliever Dovydas Neverauskas and called up two arms to bolster their overworked bullpen.

Glasnow and Neverauskas were optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis before Pittsburgh's game against Miami on Saturday afternoon. The Bucs added two relievers: right-hander A.J. Schugel and prospect Edgar Santana. To make room on the 40-man roster for Santana, the Pirates designated right-hander Pat Light for assignment.

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The moves figure to be the first in a series of transactions. The Pirates will have to clear a roster spot on Monday for right-hander Jameson Taillon, who is on the disabled list but is ready to return against the Rockies at PNC Park exactly five weeks after he had surgery for testicular cancer. Taillon will essentially take Glasnow's spot in the rotation.

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

Glasnow, one of baseball's top 10 prospects entering the season, soared through the Minors but struggled in the Majors, posting a 7.45 ERA and 1.91 WHIP while recording only three quality starts. He was unable to pitch more than five innings in nine of his 12 starts.

"It's unplugging him from this vacuum, clearing the space," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "There's good stuff to pull and I think he walks away with an honest evaluation of why he was sent down, which was, at the end of the day, performance."

Right-handers Trevor Williams and Chad Kuhl will remain in the Pirates' rotation, though Kuhl's next start has been pushed back to Wednesday. Though the Pirates said in Spring Training that the next step of Glasnow's development would take place in the Majors, he will now look to improve in the Triple-A rotation.

"This is delay. It's not denial," Hurdle said. "This isn't failure. What happens after this could turn into failure based on what you do and how you attack it. … As I told him, I believe in him and I believe in him going down, rolling his sleeves up, going to work and getting better and finding his way back so we can use him moving forward. This is the first time he's been hit like this."

Santana, 25, is Pittsburgh's No. 21 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com. The right-hander's baseball career began late, as he threw his first pitch at 19 years old, but he rapidly ascended through the Minors last season and wowed scouts in the Arizona Fall League.

Projected by many within the organization to be a late-inning reliever someday, Santana posted a 1.93 ERA with 31 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings over 23 appearances for Indianapolis this season. He made his Major League debut in the fifth inning of the Pirates' 7-6 win over the Marlins on Saturday at PNC Park, giving up one run on three hits while striking out two.

Video: MIA@PIT: Santana fans Yelich for first MLB strikeout

"I thought he came in and did a really nice job," Hurdle said. "Even though they scored a run, I thought it was a really good first performance."

Santana received word of his callup late Friday night and immediately called his mother. Though his parents initially encouraged Santana to become a teacher, he said his mother was elated to hear the news.

"They threw a party back home," Santana said. "She always told me to keep going and it's going to happen. She was so happy."

Neverauskas pitched each of the past two nights, throwing a total of 61 pitches in three innings. He was replaced by a fresher arm in Schugel, who has not pitched since Monday. Schugel was quietly effective for the Pirates when healthy last season, posting a 3.63 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 52 innings over 36 appearances.

The Bucs acquired Light from the Twins on Feb. 9 in exchange for cash considerations. The 26-year-old reliever had a 3.76 ERA in 26 1/3 innings for Indianapolis.

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.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Tyler Glasnow, Dovydas Neverauskas