By Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner
When Adam Frazier went on the disabled list on Monday, the Pirates recalled Dovydas Neverauskas from Triple-A Indy. It seemed an odd move, swapping out a utilityman for a reliever — especially considering the gaping hole in right field — but the Pirates figured they might need some bullpen depth with the high-flying Cubs in town.
As it turned out, they did. RHP Chad Kuhl was bounced in the second inning. Trevor Williams (four innings, 69 pitches), Antonio Bastardo (1.1 innings, 39 pitches) and Neverauskas (two innings) picked up the pieces.
“It pretty much played out perfectly,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “Unless you’d like to use (Daniel) Hudson or (Tony) Watson (on Monday) or use your other long man (Wade LeBlanc) when you’ve got Tyler Glasnow coming two days from now. You’re really pushing your bullpen. If you look at the innings pitched, there are some guys in some areas who tonight the night they needed to pitch when we’re losing by 10 runs. So, it made all the sense in the world from our perspective to bring in the extra reliever.”
>>> Anthony Rizzo stole second base in the first inning last night. He got a huge jump off the bag and Kuhl never flinched or looked over. Hurdle was asked if someone should have made Kuhl aware that Rizzo was in motion.
“Fourteen different people yelled from the dugout and the infield,” Hurdle said. “It’s not the first time it’s happened to us. It’s something we’re well aware of, that we need to improve upon off the mound. We haven’t figured that one out yet.”
>>> The Pirates will have their first themed road trip this weekend when they travel to Miami to play the Marlins. Instead of coats and ties, the dress code on the charter plane is relaxed: Hawaiian shirts and shorts.
>>> UPDATE 4:02 p.m. – LH reliever Antonio Bastardo was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a strained left quad. RH reliever Johnny Barbato was called up from Triple-A Indy.
Bastardo said he sustained the injury during the seventh inning of last night’s game, but he didn’t let management know about it until later last night: “I didn’t want to leave the game because of that. I tried to stay in there because the team needed me to.” Bastardo will be shut down for a week, then will begin his rehab at Pirate City in Bradenton, Fla. “I’m going to take my time to get my body better, get healthy, and work on my stuff and my throwing program,” he said. “I feel bad that it happened to me.”
Barbato was acquired on April 17 from the Yankees for a PTBNL or (more likely) cash. He pitched in two games (three innings) with Indy, and gave up one hit and struck out three. The day the Pirates got Barbato, Hurdle essentially said he knew nothing about him. This afternoon, Hurdle knew a little bit more: “Three-pitch guy, aggressive in the zone. Can give us multiple innings.” Take a peek over Jerry DiPaola’s shoulder (and his Android phone) and listen in as Barbato is grilled in his welcome-to-the-club presser:
>>> UPDATE 4:45 p.m.: – MLB made a scoring change to the April 13 game v. the Red Sox. In the bottom of the eight, Andrew Benintendi reached on what was originally ruled a fielder’s choice with an assist to Starling Marte and error on Phil Gosselin. This has been changed to a single to center. As a result, all the runs in the inning are earned. So, the Benintendi and the Red Sox gain a hit and Hudson picks up two earned runs.
— On MLB’s PED program: “I think there is widespread recognition … that Major League Baseball has the best drug program. And by that I mean testing, as well as investigative capacity; the number of tests we do, given the number of athletes we employ, is the best anywhere — professional or amateur sports. I do not see it as a program failure that we have positive tests. I doubt that we will ever get to the point where any sport can say with 100 percent certainty that no athlete is using a performance-enhancing drug. Occasionally, athletes are going to make a bad decision and we have a program in place that is the best at catching them if they make that decision.”
— On the potential sale of the Marlins: “I have a policy about not commenting about sale processes, but given what’s been out there today, I think it’s important to clarify a couple of things. I am absolutely certain, know for a fact, that there are multiple groups interested in acquiring the Marlins. One of those groups is the (Jeb) Bush-(Derek) Jeter group. I’m going to go beyond that. There are multiple groups that have made bids for the club. When there is a resolution as to which bid is going to be accepted, we’ll announce that pubicly. Until that happens, it’s just not appropriate for me to comment further.
— Did Starling Marte appeal his positive PED test? “No, he did not.”
— Manfred’s role in the Jung Ho Kang saga: “We’re monitoring the situation. We have not been actively involved other than giving advice. That’s what we ordinarily do, with respect to immigration matters. That’s generally handled by the club. They’re in a position to do that more effectively than we are.”
>>> You want links? I’ve got links:
Cubs 14, Pirates 3: No mercy.
Notebook: In which Cutch recalls The Ryan Doumit Experiment and other misadventures in right field.
Frazier goes down, Neverauskas comes up,
>>> Tuesday: Cubs at Pirates, 7:05 p.m, PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM
Cubs (11-8): Kyle Schwarber 7, Kris Bryant 5, Anthony Rizzo 3, BenZobrist 4, Addison Russell 6, Jason Heyward 9, Willson Contreras 2, RHP Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 6.19) 1, Albert Almora 8.
Pirates (8-11): Josh Harrison 5, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, Gregory Polanco 7, Francisco Cervelli 2, John Jaso 9, Jordy Mercer 6, Alen Hanson 4, RHP Gerrit Cole (1-2, 4.70)
Gamecast: In his last outing on Wednesday, Hendricks gave up four runs, including two homers, in five innings vs. the Brewers. The Cubs won the game on Addison Russell’s two-out, walkoff homer. … Coming into this series, the Cubs had scored 15 runs in the ninth inning. It was the most of any National League club and third-most in baseball behind the Indians (21) and the Angels (18). The Cubs’ .302 average (19 for 63) in the ninth inning is second in the NL behind the Marlins (.323). … Hendricks is battling mechanical problems. His fastball velocity is 86.2 mph, down 3.5 mph from last year, and there’s not enough separation from his 79.6 mph changeup.
>>> Wednesday: Cubs at Pirates, 7:05 p.m, PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM
Cubs: LHP Jon Lester (0-0, 2.66) Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (0-1, 7.94 ERA)
>>> Thursday: Off
>>> Friday: Pirates at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. Marlins Park, Miami. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (1-0, 2.13) Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (1-1, 3.92)
>>> Saturday: Pirates at Marlins, 7:10 p.m. Marlins Park, Miami. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
>>> Sunday: Pirates at Marlins, 1:10 p.m. Marlins Park, Miami. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM.
Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-2, 6.63) Marlins: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-0, 3.94, not including tonight’s game)
Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.