Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Bucs activate Rodriguez from DL, call up Osuna

Neverauskas, Stallings optioned to Triple-A Louisville
MLB.com @adamdberry

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates shuffled their bullpen and bench before Monday's series opener against the Brewers at PNC Park.

Pittsburgh activated reliever Richard Rodriguez from the disabled list and optioned right-hander Dovydas Neverauskas to Triple-A Indianapolis. The Bucs also optioned catcher Jacob Stallings to Indianapolis and recalled corner infielder/outfielder Jose Osuna.

View Full Game Coverage

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates shuffled their bullpen and bench before Monday's series opener against the Brewers at PNC Park.

Pittsburgh activated reliever Richard Rodriguez from the disabled list and optioned right-hander Dovydas Neverauskas to Triple-A Indianapolis. The Bucs also optioned catcher Jacob Stallings to Indianapolis and recalled corner infielder/outfielder Jose Osuna.

View Full Game Coverage

This is Osuna's third big league stint of the season. He entered Monday hitting .241 with a .749 OPS and two homers in 14 games. The Pirates have depth in the corner infield and outfield spots, but Osuna can serve as a power bat off the bench and potentially start against left-handers.

"I have to be ready for the opportunity," Osuna said. "When they give it to me, I have to be ready."

Stallings did not play during his brief callup, primarily serving as insurance while the Pirates monitored Francisco Cervelli following a foul tip to the face. Neverauskas pitched two scoreless innings at Wrigley Field after being recalled on June 8, then gave up five runs over his next two appearances.

"It comes down to pitch execution," manager Clint Hurdle said. "When he hasn't executed pitches, he's paid a price up here with damage done off the bat."

Rodriguez has been sidelined since June 7 due to right shoulder inflammation and recently said that rest was the antidote he needed. Rodriguez posted a 2.38 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 22 appearances before the injury. He threw 20 pitches in one inning of a simulated game on Saturday.

Given his early success, Rodriguez could play a prominent role in a Pirates bullpen that has all but abandoned traditional setup roles in front of closer Felipe Vazquez.

"We have guys that we believe can develop into that, that can grow into that," general manager Neal Huntington said on Sunday. "But rather than lock guys into specific roles, we'd like to have Clint have the ability to go use who he feels most strongly about in the most important situation."

Kingham, Craig earn weekly honors
Right-hander Nick Kingham was named the International League Pitcher of the Week. After being optioned to Indianapolis on June 10, Kingham pitched eight scoreless innings while allowing two hits and striking out six on Thursday. Kingham carried a perfect game into the seventh, just like he did in his MLB debut.

Kingham, the Bucs' No. 12 prospect per MLB Pipeline, has dominated Triple-A competition this season, and he's put together a 3.82 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in six Major League starts. What more can he do to lock down a spot in Pittsburgh's rotation?

"Keep doing what he's doing," Huntington said Sunday. "We're in a position where we have five guys in our Major League rotation that, as we look back over the course of recent time -- in some cases, a year plus -- they've done a nice job."

Double-A Altoona first baseman Will Craig, the Pirates' first-round Draft pick in 2016 and No. 17 prospect, was named the Eastern League Player of the Week. Craig went 12-for-23 with five home runs and 12 RBIs in six games. Craig, who began Monday with a .263/.342/.493 slash line, leads the Pirates organization with 11 homers and 50 RBIs this season.

Bucs considering infield prospects
With Adam Frazier in Triple-A, the Pirates' only reserve middle infielder is Sean Rodriguez. The veteran infielder/outfielder is slashing .159/.286/.299, walking at a career-high rate but also striking out in 31.7 percent of his plate appearances.

"Sean is producing. It's just not statistically with batting average," Huntington said. "There are other ways he was producing and is still a really good defender."

Huntington said the Pirates are "taking a look" at Kevin Newman and Kevin Kramer, a pair of 2015 Draft picks and Triple-A infield prospects. It is unlikely either will be promoted, however, unless they can play an everyday role.

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

Pittsburgh Pirates, Jose Osuna, Richard Rodriguez