By Chris Adamski
NORTH SHORE – While the biggest pregame news of the day is clearly that The Longtime Face of the Franchise is back in his prominent spot in the batting order, there was other news Monday. Namely, the Bucs’ beleaguered bullpen has grown – and it welcomed back one of its more veteran members.
Antonio Bastardo was reinstated from the disabled list (and resulting lengthy rehab assignment). The 31-year-old veteran lefty had been on the DL since April 25 because of a quad strain and had spent the maximum 30 days as part of Triple-A Indianapolis.
“We have seen some very good things from him at this level,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He didn’t start (this season) the way he wanted. This will give him an opportunity to come back and help us out in the bullpen – and we could use some help in the bullpen.”
Opponents are hitting .258 against the Pirates’ bullpen, ranking it 21st in the majors. Its 12 blown saves is third-most in the National League.
Of course, Bastardo was part of the problem in April – in six games, he allowed 12 runs on 15 hits and seven walks in 6 2/3 innings for a 16.20 ERA and 3.30 WHIP. He allowed at least three baserunners in all but one of his appearances.
Bastardo said his delivery had become too closed toward home plate, and the time in Indy helped fix that. He initially was stretched out some in terms of pitches; later on, he was used in a routine of every-second-or-third-day.
“Sometimes maybe you get too comfortable or sometimes you need to see the things (from a different perspective),” Bastardo said. “To focus better, sometimes you have to pass some type of process. So it’s like when the injury and everything happened, it opened up my eyes and figured out the things I was doing wrong.”
In games he pitched for the Pirates in 2015 and 2016, Bastardo had a 3.51 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 92 strikeouts and 58 hits allowed in 81 1⁄3 innings for the Pirates.
>>> Cervelli with the team:
Five days after being placed on the 7-day concussion disabled list and eight days after suffering his most recent concussion, catcher Francisco Cervelli was with the team and in the clubhouse Tuesday afternoon.
He declined to speak with reporters and headed into the trainer’s room for treatment.
>>> “Excited for him to be back there:
Here’s Josh Harrison talking about not only McCutchen’s return to a familiar lineup spot but also the Pirates’ improved offense of late (via the magic of You Tube dot com):
>>> You want links? I’ve got links:
“We’ve taken those training wheels off and pushed him out there.”
“What he’s done the past month or so, that’s Cutch. And right on time, coming back.”
>>> Tuesday’s game: Braves at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: None. Radio: 93.7 FM
Rays: Mallex Smith 8, Corey Dickerson 7, Even Longoria 5, Logan Morrison 3, Steven Souza 9, Wilson Ramos 2, Tim Beckham 4, Adeiny Hechavarria 6, RHP Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)
Pirates: Adam Frazier 7, Josh Harrison 4, Andrew McCutchen 8, Josh Bell 3, David Freese 5, Gregory Polanco 9, Jordy Mercer 6, Chris Stewart 2, RHP Trevor Williams (3-3, 5.09)
Gamecast: On June 15, Cobb became the seventh pitcher to make 100 starts with the Rays. The others: James Shields (217), David Price (170), Scott Kazmir (144), Chris Archer (141), Jeremy Hellickson (108) and Jake Odorizzi (109). … The curveball has been Cobb’s most-used secondary pitch. Last season, he relied more on the changeup. … Williams has gotten three straight no-decisions since beating the Mets on June 4. In that span, he has put up a 6.60 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. … Over his past six starts (29 1⁄3 IP), Williams has served up just one home run.
>>> Wednesday’s game: Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Rays: Lineup TBA. LHP Blake Snell (0-4, 4.71)
Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Ivan Nova (7-5, 3.06)
>>> Thursday’s game: Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Rays: Lineup TBA. Chris Archer (6-4, 3.97)
Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Jameson Taillon (3-2, 3.33)
>>> Friday’s game: Giants at Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Giants: Lineup TBA. Johnny Cueto (5-7, 4.20)
Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Gerrit Cole (6-6, 4.11)
>>> Saturday’s game: Giants at Pirates, 4:05 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Giants: Lineup TBA. LHP Matt Moore (3-8, 6.04)
Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Chad Kuhl (2-6, 5.58)
>>> Sunday’s game: Giants at Pirates, 1:35 p.m., PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Giants: Lineup TBA. RHP Jeff Samardzija (3-9, 4.63)
Pirates: Lineup TBA. RHP Trevor Williams (3-3, 5.09 plus Tuesday)
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.