Pirates recall Oneil Cruz from Triple-A Indianapolis; select Bligh Madris from Triple-A Indianapolis; option Liover Peguero to Double-A Altoona; place Zach Thompson on 15-day IL

June 20th, 2022

The Pittsburgh Pirates today recalled shortstop Oneil Cruz and selected outfielder Bligh Madris (pronounced: BLY mah-DRISS) from Triple-A Indianapolis. To make room on the 26-man roster, Liover Peguero was optioned to Double-A Altoona and right-handed pitcher Zach Thompson was placed on the 15-day Injured List with right forearm nerve inflammation, retroactive to June 18.

Cruz, 23, will be making his second Major League stint, having been on the roster for the final three days of the 2021 season, and will wear uniform No. 15. The six-foot-seven, 220-pound shortstop is widely regarded as one of the top prospects in the game and is ranked by Baseball America as the No. 20 in baseball, while MLB.com slots him at No. 22. Cruz is considered by Baseball America as the top prospect in the Pirates’ system, as well as being tabbed as the “Best Power Hitter” and possessing the “Best Infield Arm” in the organization. He is also ranked as the No. 8 shortstop prospect in baseball by MLB.com. In his first Major League stint from October 2-3, 2021, Cruz went 3-for-9 with a home run and 3 RBI in 2 games. He also became the tallest person to ever play for the Pirates as well as the tallest player to ever play shortstop in Major League history.

Cruz has hit .232 (49-for-211)/.336 OBP/.422 SLG with 7 doubles, 3 triples, 9 home runs, 35 RBI, 11 stolen bases and 30 walks in 55 games with Indianapolis this season, including a .279 (36-for-129)/.379 OBP/.527 SLG clip with 4 doubles, 2 triples, 8 home runs and 27 RBI over his last 34 games since May 5. Defensively, he made 44 appearances at shortstop as well as 10 in left field. He has combined to hit .275 (476-for-1,733)/.341 OBP/.458 SLG with 92 doubles, 26 triples, 58 home runs and 242 RBI in 459 games across six Minor League seasons. He was acquired alongside right-handed pitcher Angel German from the Los Angeles Dodgers for left-handed pitcher Tony Watson on July 31, 2017. 

Madris, 26, will be making his Major League debut and will wear uniform No. 66. The six-foot, 210-pound left-handed hitter has posted a .304 (48-for-158)/.386 OBP/.519 SLG line with 15 doubles, 2 triples, 5 home runs and 20 RBI in 46 games for Indianapolis this season, ranking among the International League leaders in OPS (6th, .904) and doubles (T-7th). Defensively, he’s made 20 appearances in right field, six in left field and three at first base. 

Madris is a lifetime .262 (412-for-1,570)/.333 OBP/.407 SLG hitter with 91 doubles, 14 triples, 36 home runs and 215 RBI in 451 games across five Minor League seasons. In 2021, he was honored with the Pirates’ organization’s Manny Sanguillen Teammate-of-the-Year Award for Triple-A. He was Pittsburgh’s ninth-round selection in the 2017 First-Year Player Draft. He was signed by Pirates scout Derrick Van Dusen. 

Peguero, 21, made his Major League debut on June 18 vs. San Francisco and went 1-for-3 with a walk, notching his first career hit with a single off Alex Wood in the fourth inning. He was the first player in franchise history born in the year 2000 or later to appear on the club’s active roster. 

Thompson, 28, has gone 3-5 with a 4.47 ERA (27 ER in 54.1 IP) with 41 strikeouts against 23 walks in 13 games (12 starts). Over his last eight starts since May 8, Thompson had gone 4-4 with a 2.54 ERA (11 ER in 39.0 IP), including seven outings of two or fewer earned runs.