PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates recalled outfielder Jordan Luplow from Triple-A Indianapolis and optioned right-hander Clay Holmes to Class A Advanced Bradenton before Friday's series opener against the Phillies at PNC Park, swapping out a spot starter/long reliever for a bench bat.Luplow hit a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning and
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates recalled outfielder Jordan Luplow from Triple-A Indianapolis and optioned right-hander Clay Holmes to Class A Advanced Bradenton before Friday's series opener against the Phillies at PNC Park, swapping out a spot starter/long reliever for a bench bat.
Luplow hit a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning and scored a run in the Pirates' 17-5 loss.
Taking the injured Joe Musgrove's spot in the rotation, Holmes stepped out of the bullpen to start for the Bucs in Wednesday's 6-4 loss at Dodger Stadium. The Pirates presumably sent Holmes to Bradenton so he can pitch on turn; the All-Star break for Triple-A Indianapolis and Double-A Altoona runs from Monday through Wednesday.
Luplow made his Major League debut last season and hit .205 with a .660 OPS in 27 games. The right-handed-hitting outfielder has heated up after a slow start in Indianapolis, batting .330/.412/.561 with eight homers in 243 plate appearances since May 1.
The Pirates are already carrying four outfielders who start on a regular basis: Corey Dickerson, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco and Austin Meadows.
Draft signing deadline
The Pirates did not come to an agreement with Competitive Balance Round A pick Gunnar Hoglund before Friday's 5 p.m. ET deadline to sign players selected in last month's MLB Draft.
The Pirates took Hoglund, a right-hander out of Fivay High School in Florida, with the 36th overall pick. The 6-foot-4 Mississippi commit told the Tampa Bay Times after the Draft that he agreed to terms with the Bucs, but the two sides were not able to complete a deal. Hoglund's pick came with a slot value of $1,967,900.
"We were unable to reach an agreement with Gunnar Hoglund. We had conviction that we would be able to sign Gunnar when we made the selection, but as the signing process evolved, it became clear that Gunnar viewed attending University of Mississippi as the best decision for him at this point in his life," Pirates scouting director Joe DelliCarri said in a statement. "We respect that decision and wish Gunnar all the best in his future. We anticipate adding a quality player with the 37th selection in the 2019 Draft as compensation for not signing Gunnar."
Pittsburgh signed its top selection, first-round outfielder Travis Swaggerty, and 21 of its first 22 picks. The Pirates on Friday announced the signing of 13th-round pick Zack Kone, an infielder from Duke, and assigned him to short-season Class A West Virginia. According to MLB.com's Jim Callis, Kone received an over-slot bonus of $166,700.
Catcher Francisco Cervelli (concussion) began a Minor League rehab assignment on Thursday with Double-A Altoona. Cervelli, who had been sidelined since June 21, went 0-for-3 with two walks and a pair of strikeouts as Altoona's designated hitter.
Manager Clint Hurdle said Cervelli has been participating in extensive pregame workouts and various catching drills while catching pitchers' bullpen sessions, so the Pirates don't feel it is necessary for him to catch in games. They do want him getting as many at-bats as possible, however, which is why he returned to Altoona's lineup as the DH on Friday.
Musgrove (right index finger infection) played catch on Friday afternoon. If he feels good on Saturday, he will throw a bullpen session. That would set him up to start on Tuesday, the day he is eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list. The fact that the Bucs optioned Holmes on Friday would seem to indicate that they believe Musgrove will be ready to make his next start.
Right-hander Michael Feliz (shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to pitch in a simulated game on Saturday.
Hurdle moved around two prominent players in Friday's lineup, slotting first baseman Josh Bell into the leadoff spot and dropping Josh Harrison to seventh in the order. Bell hit leadoff for the second time in his Major League career, the first coming Sept. 30, 2016, while Harrison was out of the top three for the first time this season.
"I just think it's going to be awesome to have more opportunity to get more at-bats in," Bell said. "Hopefully, nothing changes. I've felt good this past month. Hopefully, we can keep it rolling."
Hurdle said he was influenced by each player's performance over the previous 30 days. During that stretch, Bell was one of the Pirates' best hitters, slashing .301/.402/.425 with as many walks (13) as strikeouts. Meanwhile, Harrison hit just .242/.275/.326 with 12 strikeouts and two walks.
"Just a different look, a different time to hit. See what can happen," Hurdle said. "There's no sense in keeping it the same, is usually a point I get to, because we're not getting the results we want to get."
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.