Hurdle again suggests need for another lefty

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

It’s been an issue since the Pirates arrived at Spring Training with a lack of left-handed options for the bullpen. And it continues to be an issue now more than two months into the season. With Joe Beimel on the disabled list for what could be a while, manager Clint Hurdle has just one lefty at his disposal (Daniel Moskos). That has limited Hurdle’s ability to match up left-on-left, and Hurdle noted after Sunday’s game that such a disadvantage might need to change.

“We might need to look at rearranging our bullpen a little bit,” Hurdle said. “We’ve faced a lot of teams with a lot of left-handers and the one left-hander out there is not as many options as I’d like to have. That was the biggest challenge we kept running into today.”

The fact that the Pirates already don’t have an experienced lefty (Moskos has nine career appearances) already means that Hurdle is going to have to use Moskos in some high-leverage situations that normally he’d avoid with a rookie.

And if the Pirates want to call up another left-hander for the ‘pen, who would be the other options?

There are seven lefties pitching in Triple-A Indianapolis right now, though you can immediately cross three off a potential call-up list. Garrett Olson is currently on the disabled list. Rudy Owens and Justin Wilson are going to remain in  starting roles. That leaves Brian Burres, Dan Meyer, Justin Thomas and Tony Watson as your other options. Only Watson is on the 40-man roster, though the Pirates could clear another spot by designating Jose Ascanio for assignment. At this point, Ascanio would seem the most likely to go anyway if the Pirates wanted to subtract a righty and add a lefty.

Burres has been starting for Indianapolis this season, but he’s helped the Pirates out of the ‘pen before. Burres has a 3.94 ERA this season and has limited opponents to a .256 batting average.

Thomas has pitched in Pittsburgh before, too; he made 12 appearances here last season. His results as of late aren’t all that impressive though, and his season ERA sits at 4.68.

Watson has no Major League experience, though the club mentioned him as an option to break camp with the big league club this spring after pitching well in Double-A last year. After moving into a full-time relief role, Watson has posted a 2.57 ERA in 21 appearances. Opponents are batting just .186 off of him.

Meyer was signed by the club at the start of the season and has missed some time due to a stint on the disabled list. He has allowed 11 earned runs in his last 10 appearances (13 1/3 innings).

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

4 Comments

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Burres & Watson seem the better of the choices. Burres would do the job, he always seems to rise to the level of play he is in, doing better in the majors than in the minors. I still can’t wrap my mind around the headline though. “Hurdle against suggests need for another lefty”. Is a word being left out or what? “against suggests”? What does that MEAN? Is it me? help me out here…

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