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Pirates notebook: Contreras, Mercer join club; Walker on DL

| Friday, May 3, 2013, 7:21 p.m.

Reliever Jose Contreras and infielder Jordy Mercer joined the Pirates as second baseman Neil Walker was placed on the 15-day disabled list and reliever Jared Hughes was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday.

Contreras is coming off Tommy John surgery performed last June. Initially told recovery would take from 12 to 14 months, the 41-year-old credits hard work and his team of doctors in New York, where the surgery was performed, for being able to return after only 10½ months.

“I want to be ready for first inning to the ninth inning. No matter what they need me to do, I will,” Contreras said through translator Heberto Andrade, the Pirates' bullpen catcher. “I appreciate the Pirates for the opportunity, and I'll do anything to win. If I've got to be a bat boy or whatever, I want to win.”

Manager Clint Hurdle said they don't plan to use Contreras for multiple innings, but the addition gives them the ability to have a veteran in late-inning situations when Mark Melancon or Jason Grilli is unavailable.

Walker was placed on the disabled list retroactive to April 27. He got six stitches after St. Louis' Pete Kozma spiked him on April 26.

Mercer, who started at second base Friday night, hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning.

• Hurdle said Hughes should continue to focus on re-establishing his sinker and consistency in Indianapolis. The right-hander has given up at least one run in four of his previous six appearances.

• Hurdle said Jose Tabata (hamstring) felt better but will be limited for at least a couple of games, and the Pirates would need to decide whether to put him on the DL on Tuesday.

• Right-handerJeff Karstens (shoulder) threw a simulated game Friday at PNC Park and is expected to head to Florida to continue his rehabilitation.

Charlie Morton was removed from his start at Triple-A Indianapolis after three innings because of tightness in his right shoulder, according to the Pirates, and will return to Pittsburgh for evaluation. Morton was scheduled to throw six innings (90 pitches).

— Karen Price

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