d’Arnaud up; Harrison down; more moves coming
Chase d’Arnaud is expected to join the Pirates on Friday in the first of a series of roster moves that the club will make in the next week to 10 days. The Pirates made room for d’Arnaud by optioning infielder Josh Harrison to Triple-A Indianapolis, though that demotion is expected to be temporary.
With three games in Toronto beginning on Tuesday, the Pirates have plans to add outfielder Alex Presley to the big league roster. Presley leads the International League in hits, and manager Clint Hurdle has made it clear that he would like to add the outfielder to serve as a designated hitter.
To make room for Presley, the Pirates will likely option sparsely used infielder Pedro Ciriaco to Triple-A. Though sending down Ciriaco would leave the Pirates with only one backup infielder, that, too, would be temporary.
Later next week, the Pirates will need to make another roster move, this time calling up a starting pitcher to cover one of the two games in a July 2 doubleheader against the Nationals. That addition is almost certain to be Brad Lincoln, since Lincoln is already on the 40-man roster. At that time, the Pirates will need to send down Presley or a reliever to make room for Lincoln.
Lincoln would return to Indianapolis after the outing, and the Pirates could recall Harrison – who, by rule, could not rejoin the Pirates until 10 days after being optioned unless someone goes on the disabled list – to replenish the infield depth. By July 3, those mandatory 10 days would have passed.
That explains why the Pirates opted to send down Harrison – and not Ciriaco – on Thursday. Had the Pirates waited to option Harrison next week, he would not be eligible to return on July 3.
While general manager Neal Huntington would not engage in the speculation, he did offer this on Harrison, who was called up to the Majors on May 30.
“Josh did a solid job, and we expect he will help us at the Major League level again this season,” Huntington said.
Harrison hit .283 in 16 games.
d’Arnaud, the Pirates’ top infield prospect, was hitting .280 with 11 doubles, five triples, four homers and 33 RBIs with Indianapolis at the time of the call up. He had also swiped 17 bases in 62 games.
He had split time playing short and second this year, though d’Arnaud also recently spent some time at third base and has plenty of familiarity at the position, which he played regularly in college. The 24-year-old infielder is likely to see significant playing time at third with Pedro Alvarez and Steve Pearce still on the disabled list.
The Pirates still need to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for d’Arnaud. That move will be made on Friday.
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