Pirates add Worley to fill long-relief role
Liz designated for assignment to make room on roster for veteran righty
PITTSBURGH -- Bolstering their pitching staff for Tuesday's doubleheader, as well as for the remaining stretch drive, the Pirates on Tuesday purchased veteran right-hander Vance Worley's contract from Triple-A Indianapolis.
The move was long anticipated and likely would have been made earlier had J.A. Happ's sensational pitching not eliminated the need for a starter.
Worley had no longer been on the Bucs' 40-man roster, so Radhames Liz had to be designated for assignment to open a spot for him.
"We're banking on [Worley]; he's been pitching very well and is ready to go," said manager Clint Hurdle. "We're glad to have him back. He's got a great desire to compete and pitches with an edge."
Worley falls back into the same long-relief role he had when the Pirates designated him for assignment on July 30, needing a roster spot for freshly acquired veteran Joe Blanton. Worley took nearly all of the allowable 10 days to decide to accept being outrighted to the Minors.
"I felt this was still the place that offered me the best chance to get back," the 27-year-old veteran said. "There was only a month left in the Minor League season, not enough time to make an impression for someone else. They knew me here, and I was also familiar with them."
In the interim between his last appearance for the Pirates, on July 24, and first start with the Indians, on Aug. 15, Worley worked out on his own in a gym here, then spent a few days throwing at his Philadelphia home. With Triple-A Indianapolis, he hit the ground running -- tossing five innings and 75 pitches in that first start. Overall with the Indians, he was 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA in six starts, the last three of which lasted eight innings, the most recent coming on Thursday.
"He went down with a purpose, to get his consistency and command back to a good place," Hurdle said.
Worley was in that good place in the Pirates' rotation, prior to being bumped for Charlie Morton's return in late May, and he lost his way in the unfamiliar relief role.
Touching all the bases
• First: Starling Marte (gastroenteritis) was sitting out the day portion of the doubleheader but was already penciled into the night game's starting lineup.
• Second: Hurdle has never been a big fan of eliminating roster limits for the season's final month, but he knows how to take advantage of it. Thirty-two of the 34 active players saw action in the four-game series against the Brewers -- all but Gerrit Cole and Happ, the starting pitchers on Tuesday -- and the depth will come into even bigger play in the doubleheader.
• Third: This was only the second split doubleheader in PNC Park history, the first being a July 28, 2001, set with the Astros.
• Home: Hence, many Pirates players had never experienced a day-night twin bill. Jung Ho Kang recalled last playing a day-night DH in Korea in 2009. Worley's first Major League start came in the day portion of the Phillies' doubleheader against the Marlins on Sept. 6, 2010.