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Cruz on restricted list, Slaten recalled

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For the first time this season, the Pirates have two lefties in the bullpen, as Doug Slaten has been recalled from Triple-A Indy. Slaten is filling in for Juan Cruz, who was placed on the restricted list so he can attend to personal affairs in the Dominican Republic. Slaten takes the spot on their 40-man roster that opened last week when Nate McLouth was DFA’ed. Slaten, 32, went 2-0 with eight saves and a 0.36 ERA in 20 minor league outings. He has the second-lowest batting average against (.161) among International League relievers.

»»» Finally, some good offensive news (albeit in the future tense) for the Pirates: 3B Jordy Mercer and CF Starling Marte smacked huge home runs yesterday for Triple-A Indy. Mercer tied the game against Louisville with a two-run shot and Marte broke open the 9-4 win with a grand slam. GM Neal Huntington revealed yesterday afternoon that he’s mulling a callup for Mercer in the near future. Marte almost certainly also will be in Pittsburgh before the season is over, although he’s more likely to arrive in September. Marte’s slam was a titanic shot to left field. “He’s got unbelievable power,” Mercer said. “That ball still hasn’t landed yet.” If it lands on the North Shore, maybe Marte can stop by to retrieve it and stay a while.

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