CINCINNATI – Neal Walker was caught off guard by his promotion to the majors. “I had no idea until after (Monday) night’s game,” he said this afternoon in the clubhouse at Great American Ball Park.
Walker and Virgil Vasquez were called up from Triple-A Indianapolis today, the first day major league rosters were allowed to expand.
Walker, of Gibsonia, was called up last September, but never got in a game. He hopes things will be different. “I have a different mentality this time around,” Walker said. “I’m really looking forward to getting out there.”
• Vasquez will work out of the bullpen, though he might make a spot start or two down the stretch. The Pirates have a six-man rotation – Paul Maholm, Charlie Morton, Zach Duke, Kevin Hart, Ross Ohlendorf and Dan McCutchen – mapped out through at least Sept. 18. “Whatever comes my way, I’ll be happy for it,” Vasquez said. “It’s a different mentality (as a reliever). Your workouts change, your routines change – pretty much everything – but the game’s the same. I know I’ll be fine. As long as the arm feels good, the mind is ready to go. It’s going to be a fun month.”
• The Pirates acquired left-hander Bobby Livingston from the Cleveland Indians in exchange for either cash or a player to be named later. Livingston was assigned to Indianapolis. Livingston was the Mariners’ fourth-round draft pick in 2001. He pitched in three games for the M’s in 2006 and 10 with the Reds in 2007. He played in both Class AAA and AA this season in the Orioles’ and Indians’ organizations.
• R.J. Rodriquez, the closer for Class A Lynchburg, will pitch for Puerto Rico in the World Cup. This past offseason, Rodriguez signed with the Pirates as a minor league free agent. He went 6-3 with 27 saves and a 3.08 ERA in 47 outings. He leads the Carolina League in saves.
• There was a flurry of minor-league roster moves today:
… Right-hander Yoslan Herrera was promoted to Indianapolis.
… Right-hander Moises Robles was promoted to Double-A Altoona.
… Right-hander Noah Krol was promoted to Lynchburg.
… Low-A West Virginia put righty Casey Erickson (arm) on the disabled list. Right-handers Alan Knotts and Melkin Laureano were promoted to West Virginia
• Lefty Donnie Veal, who’s on a rehab assignment with Altoona, will replace Herrera and start tonight. Righty Derek Hankins will piggyback the start. The Pirates plan to convert Veal back to a starter during the Arizona Fall League.
• Lineups for tonight’s game:
PIRATES (53-77) – 1. Andrew McCutchen cf, 2. Delwyn Young 2b, 3. Garrett Jones rf, 4. Ryan Doumit c, 5. Steve Pearce 1b, 6. Lastings Milledge lf, 7. Andy LaRoche 3b, 8. Ronny Cedeno ss, 9. Charlie Morton (3-6, 5.00) rhp
REDS (58-73) – 1. Drew Stubbs cf, 2. Paul Janish ss, 3. Brandon Phillips 2b, 4. Kevin Barker 1b, 5. Scott Rolen 3b, 6. Jonny Gomes rf, 7. Wladimir Balentien lf, 8. Craig Tatus c, 9. Justin Lehr (3-1, 4.19) rhp