April 14, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Phil Irwin (36) delivers a pitch against the Cincinnati Reds during the fifth inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 10-7. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates Call Up Phil Irwin; Jeff Locke Demoted After Spot Start


As expected, Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jeff Locke‘s return to the major-league level lasted a mere one day as Locke was sent back to Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday.

Feb 21, 2014; Bradenton, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Phil Irwin (46) poses for a photo at Pirate City. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

To take his place on the major-league roster the Bucs called up a familiar name in right-hander Phil Irwin.

With the fashion the Pirates bullpen has been taxed recently, they had to call up another arm, although it is doubtful that Irwin can help patch the holes of the leaky “Shark Tank.”

It’s nice to see Irwin make it back to the majors as it has been a long road back.

He made his only MLB appearance last season in a spot start and then missed most of the season due to elbow issues.

The Bucs converted him to a reliever, where he has appeared in a long role, but hasn’t had great results. Irwin has allowed 18 earned runs in 18 innings pitched on the season. However he has been very good as of late. In three of Irwin’s outings he allowed 16 earned runs, but just two in the other four.

Irwin made seven appearances (two starts) with Indy, beginning the season in the starting rotation before making his last five outings in relief.

He pitched four scoreless innings in his last game on May 1 at Pawtucket and was charged with one earned run in his last 9.1 innings of work.

Since he hasn’t worked in five days, Irwin could give the Pirates some much needed innings if necessary; however, it is vital that Charlie Morton pitches deep into the game Tuesday night when the Bucs take on the San Francisco Giants.

It was thought that the Bucs would look to promote another bat, perhaps Andrew Lambo, being that they won’t need a fifth starter for a couple of weeks. But the need for another arm is greater, hence the promotion of Irwin.

Brandon Cumpton and Casey Sadler, both sent down to Triple-A within the last week, weren’t eligible to be summoned as they haven’t spent the required time (10 days) back in the minors.



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