In a surprising move, the Pirates this afternoon demoted Curve starting pitcher Tim Alderson to Single-A Bradenton.
Alderson entered the season as the Pirates' No. 7 prospect, according to Baseball America, but had all kinds of difficulties with the Curve. He gave up six runs -- five earned -- in three innings Monday afternoon against Richmond to raise his ERA to 5.62.
Entering the game, opposing hitters were batting .307 off the 21-year-old right-hander.
Alderson's velocity has been way down this season -- mostly in the 87-88 mph range -- and he has been working exclusively out of the stretch for most of the season trying to correct some mechanical issues.
The Pirates acquired Alderson, a first-round pick in 2007, in a trade from the Giants last season for Freddy Sanchez.
The Pirates also promoted pitching prospect Jeff Locke to the Curve. Locke, a 22-year-old lefty acquired from the Braves in last year's trade for Nate McLouth, was 9-3 with a 3.54 ERA for Bradenton.