Pirates notebook: Leroux out, Morris in Bucs' bullpen
By Karen Price
Published: Friday, April 12, 2013, 7:45 p.m.
The Pirates designated right-hander Chris Leroux for assignment and recalled another righty, Bryan Morris, from Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday.
Leroux was charged with one run, gave up two hits and walked four in 22⁄3 innings Wednesday and gave up two hits, two walks and two runs in 11⁄3 innings in his season debut Sunday in Los Angeles. The 28-year-old also struggled late in spring training after returning from pitching for Canada in the World Baseball Classic, and manager Clint Hurdle had seen enough.
“When you're running a bullpen that you don't want to go three days in a row with a guy, everybody's got to pitch, and everybody's got to put something in the basket every day,” Hurdle said. “We didn't feel he was in a good enough place to do that right now. We're almost pitching one short.”
The Pirates claimed Leroux off waivers from Florida in September 2010, and he had his best results with the club in 2011 when he went 1-1 with a 2.88 ERA in 23 appearances (25 innings). He started 2012 on the disabled list with a strained right pectoral muscle, and Hurdle said Leroux hasn't been the same since.
If Leroux clears waivers, the Pirates will attempt to trade him. If that doesn't happen, Leroux has the right to refuse the assignment because this is the second time he has been designated and then could become a free agent.
Morris was 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA in five appearances with the Pirates last season. He pitched five innings, walked two, struck out six and allowed two runs on two hits after making his major league debut Sept. 14 at Chicago. He was 2-2 with a 2.67 ERA in 81 innings pitched with Indianapolis in 2012, the first season in which Morris was used exclusively in a relief role.
“We wanted to bring up a player with an option, for flexibility,” Hurdle said. “We told him this could be temporary, it could be a while, but compete and have fun with it.”
Forgive and forget
The Pirates played the Reds another eight times after Aroldis Chapman nailed Andrew McCutchen with a 101-mph fastball last August, but the incident was still a topic of conversation — for some — before the teams met for the first time in 2013.
“I'm over it. That's over and done with,” McCutchen said. “Last year, at the time, I thought it was a little intentional, but after watching the video and seeing everything, he gave a little head nod like, ‘I messed up, I screwed up.' I'm sure the pitch got away from him. I'm sure he was amped up, probably throwing a little harder than normal, and it got away from him. He acknowledged when I was reaching down taking my shin guard off.”
Do what you have to do
Asked if he gives players any instruction as to what to do when a player charges the mound or a pitcher gets charged, Hurdle said you can tell people anything you want, but it doesn't mean they'll listen.
“I saw Nolan (Ryan) put a thump down on someone one time, and I talk to that same somebody every once in a while, and he's said, ‘If I had to do it over again, I probably wouldn't do it the way I did it,' ” Hurdle said referring to Ryan's confrontation with Robin Ventura in August 1993. “So you don't know. The last thing anybody wants is injury caused from it, but that's an individual question that has to be answered at the moment when it happens for everybody.”
Dodgers pitcher Zack Greinke broke his collarbone Thursday night when San Diego's Carlos Quentin charged the mound after Greinke hit him in the shoulder. Greinke broke his collarbone in the brawl.
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