The Pittsburgh Pirates have been hamstrung by a lack of production in right field pretty much all season. In addition, Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle has had to go at things a bit short handed the past three games as the Bucs have been forced to carry an extra pitcher thanks to an overworked bullpen.
But as the Bucs look for the sweep of the San Diego Padres, they are back to a five-man bench thanks to the promotion of veteran outfielder Felix Pie.
With injuries to two outfielders at the moment, the Bucs purchased the contract of Pie from Triple-A Indianapolis and immediately inserted him into the lineup.
Pie is batting leadoff and playing left field Wednesday night as Starling Marte will miss his third consecutive game due to a right hand contusion. Jose Tabata also has tendinitis in his left knee, which prompted the immediate move.
Andrew Lambo or Alex Presley cannot yet be re-called as neither of them has spent the required 10 days in the minor leagues after they were optioned back.
Pie put up a .251/.325/.390 slash line in 396 plate appearances with Indianapolis this season. He has had some brutal months, hitting .172 in April and .192 in June, but has had some decent moths as well, hitting .356 in May, .247 in July and .256 in August.
While he is up, he will likely only be used against right-handed pitching as he hit .290 against righties this season and only .053 against lefties.
That’s not a surprise though as Pie has hit only .183 against southpaws throughout his five-year major league career.
If he can get on base, which is usually a big if with Pie, he brings a lot of speed to the table, swiping 38 bases this season in Indy.
Pie last played in the majors for the Orioles in 2011, hitting .220 with zero homers in 85 games, and is a career .249 hitter with a .673 OPS. He also hit just .251 with a .325 on-base percentage in 105 games at Triple-A for the Pirates before the call-up.
To make room for Pie on the active roster, the Pirates optioned P Ryan Reid to Indy in a corresponding move.
To make room on the 40-man roster, starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez (forearm) has reportedly been moved to the 60-day disabled list.
In all likelihood this could be a quick stop for Pie as the Pirates will likely re-call Lambo or Presley when they are eligible to return.