DETROIT — Today, RP Evan Meek was sent back to Triple-A Indy and OF Gorkys Hernandez was called up to make his major league debut. Hernandez batted .266 with five doubles, two homers and 14 RBI in 38 games with Indy this season. The Pirates acquired Hernandez on June 3, 2009 from Atlanta as part of the Nate McLouth trade.
Hernandez was awakened at 2:30 this morning by Indy skipper Dean Treanor, who called to tell him he’d been promoted. “I was like, Are you kidding me?” Hernandez said. “I’m so excited. I want to stay here for a long time.”
Hernandez is not in the lineup tonight (McLouth is starting in LF in place of Jose Tabata, who was benched for not running out a grounder last night — more on that in a bit.) It wouldn’t surprise me if Hernandez got every chance to win an everyday gig. But manager Clint Hurdle also wants to get more looks at McLouth, Garrett Jones and Yamaico Navarro in the outfield. “We’re going to run some at-bats at them and see where they can take them,” Hurdle said. “This might turn out to be a shorter look (for Hernandez) but we’re not cemented on that.”
»»» Props for Cutch: After another sizzling series against the Nationals, Andrew McCutchen drew some high praise from Nats 3B Ryan Zimmerman. “Yeah, he does pretty good against us,” Zimmerman said, then paused and rephrased it to make it clear he was handing out a compliment. “I mean, he’s a good player. They try to pitch him away and he hits it away. They bring one in and he almost hits (a homer) down the left field line. And then the next at-bat … I’m hoping he was sitting first pitch slider. Because if he’s not sitting on one, it seemed even more impressive. He’s one of those special player that can do everything. He’s fun to watch — I just wish we didn’t have to watch him so much when we play him.”
I’ve got some bad news for Zimmerman. I asked Cutch if he was sitting on the slider when he hit his second homer. Cutch smiled and shook his head: “Nope.”
»»» Karstens on mend: RHP Jeff Karstens threw a 40-pitch bullpen today without problem. He’ll toss two innings somewhere, most likely Double-A Altoona, on Monday. “Now, it’s mostly about getting my release point down,” Karstens said.
»»» Best v. worst: I retweeted this earlier today from Stats LLC, but it bears repeating here: Justin Verlander has the best interleague winning percentage (.882, minimum 10 starts) tonight will face the Pirates, who have the worst interleague record (.384).
»»» Remember: Saturday’s game starts at 4:05 p.m. It will be televised by Root.
»»» Throwbacks: The Pirates will wear Pittsburgh Crawfords uniforms Saturday as part of the 18th annual Negro Leagues tribute. The Tigers will wear Detroit Stars unis.
»»» Minor matter: Double-A Altoona activated INF Jarek Cunningham (left wrist) from the disabled list.
Game 39: Pirates @ Tigers, 7:05 p.m. ET
Pirates (18-20): 1. Josh Harrison dh, 2. Neil Walker 2b, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 5. Garrett Jones rf, 6. Casey McGehee 1b, 7. Nate McLouth lf, 8. Clint Barmes ss, 9. Michael McKenry c. 9. Starter: Charlie Morton rhp (2-3, 4.05)
Tigers (18-20): 1. Don Kelly cf, 2. Andy Dirks lf, 3. Miguel Cabrera 3b, 4. Prince Fielder 1b, 5. Delmon Young dh, 6. Alex Avila c, 7. Brennan Boesch rf, 8. Jhonny Peralta ss, 9. Ryan Rayburn 2b. Starter: Justin Verlander rhp (4-1, 2.47)