Pirates notebook: Karstens, Tabata placed DL, Harrison recalled

Pirates reliever Mike Zagurski delivers against the Tigers on Monday, May 27, 2013. Zagurski was recalled earlier in the day and threw a scoreless inning.
Pirates reliever Mike Zagurski delivers against the Tigers on Monday, May 27, 2013. Zagurski was recalled earlier in the day and threw a scoreless inning.
Photo by Getty Images
Travis Sawchik
| Monday, May 27, 2013, 12:00 p.m.

DETROIT — The Pirates announced a flurry of roster moves Monday before opening a two-game series at Detroit.

The Pirates placed right-handed pitcher Jeff Karstens on the 60-day disabled list and moved outfielder Jose Tabata (strained left oblique) to the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 25. The Pirates optioned right-handed pitcher Bryan Morris to Triple-A Indianapolis and called up left-handed reliever Mike Zagurski and utility man Josh Harrison to fill their 25-man roster.

Zagurski takes Karstens' place on the 40-man roster.

Karstens was shut down last week after feeling discomfort while throwing. Karstens, who had a 3.97 ERA and 4.4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 90 23 innings last season, has dealt with shoulder inflammation all spring and has not pitched with the big league club.

The Pirates described Karstens' move to the 60-day DL as a “paperwork” move. Karstens is eligible to come off the DL on the 60th day of the season, not 60 days from Monday.

The severity of Karstens' shoulder injury remains unclear. He was scheduled to return to Pittsburgh over the weekend and be evaluated early this week.

“I don't know if there's been an evaluation,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “I know we were scheduled to bring him back to get him looked at.”

Hurdle said Tabata aggravated an oblique injury in Milwaukee.

“Those are very tricky,” Hurdle said. “He had slightly tweaked it a while back at home, played through it and thought it went away. But you saw the swing he took in Milwaukee the other night. The last two days he tried to do some things, but he didn't feel confident to do anything at full speed.”

Left-leaning Pirates

Zagurski gives Hurdle another left-handed option. The Pirates have six left-handed pitchers on their 25-man roster.

Zagurski was leading the International League in strikeouts per inning, fanning 37 batters in 21 innings, helping him to a 2.14 ERA.

In the short term, Hurdle wanted another left-handed arm. Last week Hurdle talked about the bullpen's depth, and perhaps it would allow the club to move a pitcher in an eventual trade.

“We are trying to get looks at them when it makes sense,” Hurdle said. “We wanted to balance the bullpen for this series. … The velocity has ratcheted up from what we saw in spring training. (Zagurski is) a strike thrower. The slider has showed more depth than he's showed in the past.”

Harrison brings flexibility

Harrison gives the Pirates another right-handed bat and someone who can play various positions.

“He can defend in right field, on both corners, (and) he's played in the infield,” Hurdle said. “Plus he can get a hit off (Justin) Verlander if we need one. We saw that last year.”

Harrison broke up a Verlander no-hit bid against the Pirates last May.

A vote for Cabrera

A year after a winning the triple crown, the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera leads the AL in batting average (.385) and RBI (57) and is second in homers (14).

Is he the premier hitter in the game?

“For me, he's the best hitter in the baseball,” Hurdle said. “He's stubborn to the big part of the ballpark. With runners in scoring position, he's as good as anybody. He stays inside the fastball, rides things out to right. He pulls and hammers the slow stuff.”

Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at tsawchik@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.

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