Pirates notebook: Pirates trade reliever Morris for draft pick

Photo by Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
| Sunday, June 1, 2014, 12:45 p.m.

LOS ANGELES — After weighing Bryan Morris' upside against the need to keep the farm system well-stocked, the Pirates traded Morris on Sunday to the Miami Marlins for the 39th overall pick in Thursday's MLB draft.

“It was not an easy decision,” general manager Neal Huntington said. “But we felt it was the right decision for us as we continue to keep this thing rolling forward.”

The Pirates got the Marlins' competitive balance round A pick, which are awarded by lottery between the first and second rounds. The Pirates now own four of the first 73 picks in the draft: numbers 24, 39, 64 and 73.

“We weren't looking to move (Morris),” Huntington said. “Miami expressed interest, and the deal came together. We felt it's a good return. Maybe it allows us to be a little more aggressive with a prospect-type trade this July or next July, if we're in position.”

Right-hander Casey Sadler, 23, was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis. A 25th-round pick in 2010, Sadler ranked eighth in the International League with a 2.66 ERA and was tied for second with six wins.

Sadler was with the Pirates from April 27 to May 5 and gave up four hits and got three strikeouts in two innings of work. Sadler was brought up Sunday to pitch out of the bullpen, so Brandon Cumpton's grip on the No. 5 rotation spot remains firm for now.

“Sadler gives us depth and length (in the pen),” manager Clint Hurdle said.

Morris, 27, was the Dodgers' first-round pick in 2006. The right-hander was traded to the Pirates in July 2008 as part of the three-team deal that sent Jason Bay to the Boston Red Sox.

In three seasons with the Pirates, Morris went 9-7 with a 3.46 ERA and a 1.35 WHIP. He made the team this year by having a great spring training and had some scouts buzzing about the possibility of Morris being a future closer.

Although he was 4-0 with a 3.80 ERA this season, Morris had scuffled the past few outings. His .294 batting average against was the highest among the Pirates' relievers.

Morris' inconsistency and tendency to overthrow put him behind Jared Hughes, Tony Watson and Josh Wilson in the pecking order for late-inning outings.

“We feel very comfortable with the guys we have now pitching in high-leverage situations,” Huntington said.

Marte's hard lessons

Despite his enormous skills, Starling Marte too often makes mental miscues. During the recent Mets series, he had a mixup with center fielder Andrew McCutchen that led to a two-base error. In Friday's game against the Dodgers, Marte was picked off second base to defuse a scoring threat.

“It's a poor play,” Hurdle said. “You can say it's a young mistake, (but) young mistakes have to end after a certain period of time.”

Marte dropped a fly ball Saturday when he spun into the outfield wall and was charged with a two-base error.

“He didn't realize he dropped it until he (saw) it,” Hurdle said. “He thought he had it secured, but he lost the ball. I think he learned a valuable lesson. We've had a talk about staying professional, making sure you make plays, you stay involved and you're focused every pitch.”

Obispo added to mix

The Pirates claimed right-hander Wirfin Obispo off waivers from the Atlanta Braves and optioned him to Indianapolis.

Obispo, 29, has no major league experience. He pitched in Japan in 2007, '09, '10 and '11. After that, he pitched at the Triple-A level in the Reds' (2012) and Braves' systems. This season, Obispo went 2-1 with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP in 19 relief outings at Triple-A Gwinnett.

Go-go Gomez

Reliever Jeanmar Gomez singled Saturday night in his first plate appearance of the season. Gomez followed it with two slides — one into third base when Josh Harrison doubled and another at the plate trying to score on Andrew McCutchen's grounder. (Gomez was tagged out.)

“How about Jeanmar? Very athletic,” Hurdle said.

Around the horn

Stolmy Pimentel (right shoulder inflammation) is scheduled to throw two innings Monday in an extended spring training game. The right-hander threw one inning Friday without incident. ... The Pirates' .346 on-base percentage in May was tops in the majors. Their .275 team batting average ranked third behind the Toronto Blue Jays (.277) and the Colorado Rockies (.276). ... ESPN's home run tracker shaved 4 feet off the initial estimate of Ike Davis' titanic home run to center field Friday off the Dodgers' Josh Beckett. But, even at 450 feet, it is the Pirates' longest blast of the season. It also is the longest at Dodger Stadium since Justin Upton's 451-foot homer on Sept. 1, 2012.

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

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