Morse DFA’d in shuffle
PITTSBURGH – Francisco Liriano’s sore hamstring got Ryan Vogelsong a start and cost Michael Morse his roster spot with the Pirates.
Liriano was unable to start as scheduled against Detroit on Wednesday, which gave Vogelsong the assignment.
Righthander A.J. Schugel was recalled from Class AAA Indianapolis to provide bullpen depth, and Morse was designated for assignment to clear a roster spot.
The Pirates played Wednesday’s game short one position player in order to temporarily add a 13th pitcher in Schugel.
Manager Clint Hurdle cited Schugel’s ability to provide multiple innings and pitch on consecutive days if necessary. The Pirates’ bullpen had to cover five innings on Tuesday because of Juan Nicasio’s brief start.
“(Schugel) has a four-pitch mix,” Hurdle said.
Morse, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers last July 30, became the odd man out when David Freese was signed during spring training. Prior to Freese’s signing, Morse had been projected as the righthanded-hitting alternative to John Jaso at first base.
“That weighed a lot in the conversation,” Hurdle said.
Hurdle added that versatility is important for bench players and others offered more than Morse.
“(Matt) Joyce can play a couple of corner (outfield) positions,” Hurdle said. “You have (Sean) Rodriguez and (Cole) Figueroa, who can pretty much play everywhere else.”
Morse has a contract for $8 million this season. It is believed the Pirates are obligated for $5 million, with the Dodgers covering the remainder. The Pirates were his seventh organization in four years.
He batted .275 with a home run and seven runs batted in and a .782 OPS in 45 games for the Pirates last season. He was hitless in eight at-bats this year.
Schugel may owe his promotion to Rob Scahill’s being on paternity leave at Indianapolis.
‘One of the last men standing in spring training was A.J,” Hurdle said. “He pitched extremely well in a number of different roles. From that standpoint, he can give us the length and volume if needed. We felt very confident in making the call.”
Liriano developed some tightness in his right hamstring while throwing a bullpen session between starts. The injury is not considered serious, but no date was given for Liriano’s next start.
Hurdle said the team did not consider bringing up either Jameson Taillon or Tyler Glasnow to take Wednesday’s start.
“This isn’t the fit,” Hurdle said.
The Pirates have designated Wednesdays for a weekly update from head trainer Todd Tomczyk.
n Jung Ho Kang (left leg) has been cleared for all activity and will likely soon start a minor league rehab assignment. Previously Kang had not been making left turns on the bases or sliding. He has done some drills on the sliding mats before attempting slides on the field.
n Jared Hughes (strained lat muscle) threw in a simulated game and reported no problems.
n Elias Diaz (elbow) is seeking opinions from other doctors. He has structural damage in his right elbow, and surgery is a possibility.
Infielder Pedro Florimon cleared waivers and has been assigned to Indianapolis. He has three days to decide if he will accept that spot or opt for free agency.
Reliever John Holdzkom was released after he cleared waivers.
Mehno can be reached at email@example.com.