Polanco, Shreve back to Bucs; Crick to IL

May 11th, 2021

PITTSBURGH -- Shortly before first pitch in Tuesday’s game against the Reds, the Pirates made another batch of roster moves.

The club activated from the injured list and placed right-handed reliever on the 10-day injured list -- retroactive to Monday -- with a right triceps strain.

Left-handed reliever was recalled in a corresponding move for Crick, while infielder/outfielder was designated for assignment to clear space for Polanco.

Polanco went on the injured list without a designation on May 4, and manager Derek Shelton declined to provide any more specifics than that Polanco was on the injured list. The 29-year-old has hit .200/.289/.350 with three homers in 24 games so far this season.

Crick pitched in Chicago on Sunday, but he struggled in his outing. He threw three strikes and seven balls to record one out, while walking a batter and hitting a batter. The 28-year-old missed time last season with a right shoulder strain and a lat strain.

The Pirates signed Shreve, a seven-year MLB veteran, to a Minor League deal during Spring Training. Shreve, who will be the second lefty in the Bucs’ pen -- beside Sam Howard -- posted a 3.96 ERA last season with the Mets in 25 innings, driven by an effective splitter.

Owen made his Major League debut in San Diego on Wednesday, when he reached base on a hit-by-pitch. The 27-year-old is still searching for his first Major League hit, and unless he clears waivers, he may continue that search with another club.

Gamel debuts in atypical spot was claimed by the Pirates on Sunday, then he was activated on Monday -- though he was not in the starting lineup against the Reds.

However, Gamel got his first at-bat for the Pirates in the seventh inning. Instead of simply pinch-hitting, the 28-year-old outfielder was left in the game to occupy the ninth spot in a double switch.

So which outfielder did he replace? Well, none of them. Instead, Phillip Evans moved to third base to give way for Gamel at first base.

“I would have lost a lot of money if we were betting on it,” Gamel said of debuting at first. “I'll say that.”

It’s not the first time Gamel has played first base, but it’s been a long time. He played one inning at the position in both the 2017 and ‘18 seasons with Seattle, and he matched those with two innings on Monday.

Shelton said he asked Gamel what position he had played outside of the outfield, and first base came up.

“I wanted to get [second baseman Adam] Frazier off his feet in a game that had gotten out of hand, so I asked [Gamel] if he could play first,” Shelton said. “He said, ‘I don't have a glove.’ Luckily, Christian Marrero had a left-handed glove.”

It’s not going to be a position that will stick for Gamel -- despite Colin Moran being on the 10-day injured list with a left groin strain and Todd Frazier having been designated for assignment. Gamel is an option at all three outfield spots, though Shelton appreciates the amount of time he’s played at center field.

“The fact that he’s a guy that has played center field and has been in center field -- and obviously, we’ve been playing different people out there -- he gives us some coverage behind Bryan Reynolds,” Shelton said.

Gamel said he’s familiar with the unique dimensions of the outfield at PNC Park, having played 26 games in Pittsburgh -- largely while with the Brewers from 2018-19. But he said it’s one of those areas where he has to see it and experience it, vs. only taking his cues on how to field both corners -- the deep left-field notch and the shallow high-walled right field -- from his teammates.

“I’m kind of a visual learner,” Gamel said, “so as soon as I see it and get [a feel] for what the fence is doing, and how the ball is flying, you just start to encapsulate everything.”