MILWAUKEE — The front office wants to see LHP Jeff Locke pitch, so the rookie has moved into the Pirates’ starting rotation, presumably for the rest of the regular season. Locke was among five players brought up today from the minor. “The first thing Clint (Hurdle) said to me today was, ‘You’re defnitely going to be here a lot longer than you were the last time,’ ” Locke said. “This is where you want to be, so I’m happy to be back. Things have been going good at Triple-A, so I’m trying to carry that through here.”
RHP Jeff Karstens (strained hip flexor) will skip at least one start and will be replaced by Kevin Correia. The rotation for the series next week against the Astros: Monday is Locke, Tuesday is Wandy Rodriguez, Thursday is Correia. “Hopefully, I’ll only have to miss one start,” Karstens said. “I want to get back and help us get to the playoffs.” The shame of it is, Karstens was finally back to his best form before being felled by the injury. If/when Karstens is able to return, look for Correia to go back to the bullpen.
»»» Although he’s barely gotten his feet wet at Triple-A Indianapolis, maybe it’s not a huge surprise INF Brock Holt was among today’s callups. Holt played in just 24 games at Indy, but he wowed Pirates brass by batting .432 with a 1.013 OPS. In 102 games at Double-A Altoona, Holt hit .322 with a .821 OPS. “Holt has played well all year,” assistant GM Kyle Stark said. “He’s embraced the type of player he needs to be and has played well on both sides of the ball. He probably profiles better (long-term) at second base, but he’s shown the ability to play shortstop.” Still, there is no guarantee Holt will remain with the Pirates through the end of the season. If 2B Neil Walker makes a quick return from lower back tightness, Holt could be sent back down to help Indy in the playoffs. “Walker’s injury definitely played a role (in Holt’s callup) and will probably play a role in how long he’s up there,” Stark said.
»»» RHP Chris Leroux was added to the 40-man and called up today. Seven of his 21 outings at Indy were starts; overall, he went 4-0 with a 3.11 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP. “Leroux will most likely pitch out of the bullpen (for the Pirates) in a variety of roles, although he does offer us some flexibility,” Stark said. The Pirates will have some holes to fill in the starting rotation next year — Erik Bedard is gone and it’s uncertain whether Karstens will be brought back. Would Leroux have a chance to start? “Opportunity and what he does with it will dictate his role, both now and in the future,” Stark said. “His flexibility offers us some different alternatives.”
»»» C Eric Fryer and LHP Justin Wilson also were called up today.
»»» Indy made a few roster additions today, as well. C Miguel Perez and RHP Logan Kensing were activated off the DL, and RHP Gerrit Cole and LHP Kris Johnson were promoted from Double-A Altoona. For those who are into this kinda thing, Cole will wear No. 35 for Indy.
»»» RHP Dovydas Neverauskas and RHP Bryton Trepagnier went promoted from rookie level Bradenton to short-season A State College. Neverauskas is the first Lithuanian player in Spikes history. RHP Clay Holmes and RHP Adrian Sampson were transferred to Bradenton’s roster, but it’s a paper move; Bradenton wraps up its season Sunday.
Game 132: Pirates @ Brewers, 7:05 p.m. ET
Pirates (70-61): 1. Alex Presley lf, 2. Travis Snider rf, 3. Andrew McCutchen cf, 4. Garrett Jones rf, 5. Pedro Alvarez 3b, 6. Josh Harrison 2b, 7. Rod Barajas c, 8. Clint Barmes ss, 9. A.J. Burnett rhp (15-5, 3.67)
Brewers (63-68): 1. Nyjer Morgan rf, 2. Rickie Weeks 2b, 3. Ryan Braun lf, 4. Aramis Ramirez 3b, 5. Corey Hart 1b, 6. Jonathan Lucroy c, 7. Carlos Gomez cf, 8. Jean Segura ss, 9. Marco Estrada rhp (2-5, 4.02)