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Brault recalled; LeBlanc (left quad strain) to DL

MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates swapped out one left-handed long reliever for another on Friday, calling up Steven Brault from Triple-A Indianapolis and placing veteran Wade LeBlanc on the disabled list due to a left quad strain.

Brault has been dominant as a starter in Indianapolis, leading the International League with a 1.94 ERA. The 25-year-old prospect is 10-5 with a 1.07 WHIP and a .199 opponents' average in 21 games (20 starts) in Triple-A. He has recorded 109 strikeouts over 120 1/3 innings, and he has consistently pitched deeper into games thanks in part to a greater focus on attacking the strike zone.

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PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates swapped out one left-handed long reliever for another on Friday, calling up Steven Brault from Triple-A Indianapolis and placing veteran Wade LeBlanc on the disabled list due to a left quad strain.

Brault has been dominant as a starter in Indianapolis, leading the International League with a 1.94 ERA. The 25-year-old prospect is 10-5 with a 1.07 WHIP and a .199 opponents' average in 21 games (20 starts) in Triple-A. He has recorded 109 strikeouts over 120 1/3 innings, and he has consistently pitched deeper into games thanks in part to a greater focus on attacking the strike zone.

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Brault went to work immediately in Friday's 11-10 loss to the Cardinals, allowing two runs on four hits in four relief innings following Trevor Williams' three-plus-inning, eight-run start.

Brault allowed two runs in four innings over two appearances for the Pirates last month. He had been scheduled to start Friday for Indianapolis in Syracuse, N.Y. Instead, he traveled to PNC Park for the Bucs' game against the Cardinals.

LeBlanc, 33, gave up four runs on four hits and two walks, needing 45 pitches to complete the ninth inning in the Pirates' 11-7 loss to the Cardinals on Thursday. It is unclear how he sustained the injury, and the extent of it is unknown. After a strong start this season, LeBlanc has posted an 8.13 ERA over his last 23 appearances.

If LeBlanc is sidelined for two weeks, the Pirates could keep him and Brault in the bullpen when Major League rosters expand from 25 to 40 players on Sept. 1.

Video: SD@PIT: LeBlanc gets out of trouble in the 7th

Benoit searching for answers

The Pirates acquired Joaquin Benoit before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline to effectively replace setup man Tony Watson, believing the veteran righty would help stabilize the back end of the bullpen. It hasn't played out that way, however, as Benoit has given up nine runs (seven earned) on 10 hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings for Pittsburgh.

Benoit coughed up the lead in the seventh inning on Thursday, surrendering three runs on three hits and a hit by pitch while recording only one out. Asked on Friday what went wrong, Benoit responded, "Everything."

The main issue, however, is fastball command. It has been a problem all year, Benoit said, and he's missing in the worst possible spots -- over the middle of the plate -- when trying to hit the corners. His velocity is fine, and his changeup is working. But poor fastball location has cost him, as he has been scored upon in four of his six appearances with the Pirates.

"It's frustrating for anybody," Benoit said. "The worst part is when not just you, not just your teammates, everybody's seeing it. You can feel the vibe from fans, too. It's a tough situation. I'm the one that has to deal with it.

"I feel like I can do my job, but I'm still human. I'm going to make mistakes. Doing this for so long, it's tough when you succeed for so long and you're trying to do your job and help the team. But right now, I'm not doing it. It's common sense. I'm not going to make excuses for what I'm doing wrong. It's baseball."

Cervelli sidelined

Manager Clint Hurdle said he was unsure how long catcher Francisco Cervelli (left wrist inflammation) will be on the disabled list. Elias Diaz started behind the plate on Friday night.

"We didn't set up a timetable for it. We're just going to let the injury calm itself down so we can start being proactive with it," Hurdle said. "The importance of where we are in the season, the urgency of the season, we need active players. We need players that can help and contribute physically. He understands all that."

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

Pittsburgh Pirates, Steven Brault, Wade LeBlanc