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Pirates notebook: Presley's play at Indy results in recall

Rob Biertempfel
| Monday, April 15, 2013, 8:15 p.m.
Pirates left fielder Alex Presley makes a running catch to end the eighth inning against the Marlins on Sunday, July 22, 2012, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner
Pirates left fielder Alex Presley makes a running catch to end the eighth inning against the Marlins on Sunday, July 22, 2012, at PNC Park.

When a player is sent to the minors during spring training, management usually gives him a detailed list of things that need improvement. Alex Presley, however, left Pirates camp last month with an extremely short to-do list.

“Nothing,” Presley said. “They said to keep playing the way I was in the spring. I know what I need to do, and they know that. I knew if I went down and played well, an opportunity would come.”

Presley was recalled Monday when pitcher Phil Irwin was sent back to Triple-A Indianapolis. In seven games with Indy, Presley batted .357, including two doubles and a homer, with two RBI and a .400 on-base percentage.

“I did everything I wanted to do,” Presley said.

In spring training, Presley hit .304 with eight RBI and a .791 on-base plus slugging percentage. He was one of the final players cut from camp.

“I'm happy with the way I performed,” Presley said. “Some things are out of my control. There's always a little frustration, but you do what you can, play well and believe that things will open up for you. That's what happened.”

When Garrett Jones and Travis Snider are in the lineup, as they were Monday, Presley will be the only left-handed bat on the bench. That could be key in the coming days, when the Pirates will face a lot of right-handed pitchers.

“I felt we were stronger with another left-handed bat, a speed guy,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He can lead off an inning, maybe spot (left fielder Starling) Marte for a day. We thought Presley could bring more right now than another infielder could.”

Presley's addition gives the Pirates six outfielders on the 25-man roster. In a pinch, Hurdle said, catcher Russell Martin could play third base, which he did in relief of Pedro Alvarez on Monday.

“You hold your breath (catcher Michael) McKenry doesn't go down,” Hurdle said. “But that's what (John) McDonald's around for, because he'll throw the gear on in a heartbeat and go behind the plate.”

Inge update

Infielder Brandon Inge (fractured shoulder blade) is eligible to come off the disabled list but likely will remain on his rehab stint with Indy until it expires April 24.

“He's getting good work done and getting good results,” Hurdle said. “We don't need another guy playing catch-up here or trying to do too much. He did not get a fair volume of work in spring training.”

Inge has played at second and third base for Indy and is expected to make at least one start at first base and in a corner outfield spot.

Here's to you, Mr. Robinson

All major league players wore No. 42 on Monday to honor Jackie Robinson.

“It's a day we all look forward to as a baseball family,” center fielder Andrew McCutchen said. “We take great pride in wearing No. 42 on our backs. It's something that happens only once a year. It means a lot. It makes you think about all the things he overcame and went through. It's a proud day.”

The last Pirates player to wear No. 42 was pitcher Jason Schmidt (1996-97).

McPherson shut down

Right-handed pitcher Kyle McPherson's got an injection Monday after his sore elbow was examined by Dr. Patrick DeMeo in Pittsburgh. McPherson will be shut down for the next two weeks, then will be re-evaluated. McPherson complained of forearm tightness after his last start. He is 0-1 with a 19.29 ERA in two outings for Triple-A Indianapolis.

McKenry sits

After McKenry homered twice Sunday, Hurdle mulled — briefly — whether to keep him in the lineup Monday.

“You always think about it,” Hurdle said. “You don't want to (disrespect) the fact that he hit two homers. But Michael's role is the backup catcher here. In the big scheme of things, I think (Martin) is a better matchup for us behind the plate. Russell's influence on (pitcher) James McDonald is important, so we want to keep that in play.”

Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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