Ohlendorf scratched, Burres to make spot start; Penn DFAed, Hanrahan off DL, McCutchen optioned

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Less than five hours before Monday’s scheduled first pitch between the Giants and Pirates, Pittsburgh announced that right-hander Ross Ohlendorf will be unable to make his scheduled start due to back spasms.

Ohlendorf has been bothered by the spasms for the past three days, and that will cost him the opportunity to take a second shot at picking up his first win of the season. The Pirates have said they are optimistic that the righty will be able to return to the mound for his next start, which will come at home on Saturday.

Taking Ohlendorf’s place on the AT&T Park mound on Monday will be lefty Brian Burres, who was initially slated to make his first start of the season for Triple-A Indianapolis on Monday. Burres has made 41 career starts in the Majors, the most recent coming April 30, 2009, with Toronto.

Pittsburgh opened a spot on the 40-man roster for Burres by designating reliever Hayden Penn for assignment. The Pirates claimed Penn off waivers during the final week of Spring Training and ended up giving him the final spot in the bullpen. However, Penn never found his footing.

He made three appearances during the first week of the season and allowed eight earned runs on eight hits and three walks in just 2 1/3 innings. The Pirates now have 10 days to trade, release or waive Penn, who is out of options. If the right-hander is able to clear waivers, the Pirates could outright him to Triple-A.

The Pirates made two other roster moves on Monday afternoon, both of which had been anticipated. Right-hander Joel Hanrahan was reinstated from the disabled list after making two Minor League rehab starts last week. Hanrahan was just a week behind schedule leading up to the season because of a right elbow strain that shut him down for most of February.

In order to make room on the 25-man roster for Hanrahan, the Pirates optioned starter Daniel McCutchen to Indianapolis. On Sunday, McCutchen gave up nine runs in 3 1/3 innings in his first start of the season. This demotion, though, was dictated more by the fact that the Pirates don’t need a fifth starter for almost two weeks than it was by Sunday’s outing.

With two off days in the next week, the Pirates plan to go with just four starters the next two times through the rotation.  In the meantime, McCutchen will continue starting on a normal schedule in Triple-A. He will obviously be under consideration to be called back up later in the month once the Pirates do need a fifth starter regularly.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

1 Comment

I know it’s really early in the season, but from watching spring training and what has developed in the past few games, I feel that the Pirates need to go out and get a qualified starter right now. If the starters are giving up 5 to 6 runs per game that means our hitters have to score 7 or more each game. It’s going to happen on a regular basis. So we need a good starter.

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