Pirates’ Neal Huntington said pitching staff ‘getting healthy’ | TribLIVE.com
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Jerry DiPaola

Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said his team, which has lost eight of its past nine games, is in the middle of a “tough stretch, but we’re getting healthy.”

Speaking Sunday on his radio show on KDKA-FM, he said pitchers Trevor Williams, Chris Stratton and Jordan Lyles, who are on the injured list, are progressing well. He added Mitch Keller will make his third major-league start Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers at PNC Park. Williams will pitch Wednesday against the Tigers.

Keller, the team’s top pitching prospect, has made two starts with the Pirates, allowing 21 of the 40 batters he faced in seven innings to reach base (17 hits, four walks). He is 0-1 with a 15.43 ERA and nine strikeouts.

Meanwhile, the Pirates recalled right-handed pitcher Yefry Ramirez from Triple-A Indianapolis and optioned pitcher Dario Agrazal to Triple-A. Agrazal was the starting pitcher Saturday in the Pirates’ 4-3 loss to the Miami Marlins.

Ramirez began the season with Triple-A Norfolk in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization, where he was 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA in four starts while holding opposing hitters to a .177 batting average. He was recalled by Baltimore on April 29 and was 0-2 in four appearances (one start) before being optioned to Triple-A on May 20. The Pirates acquired Ramirez on May 27 for cash considerations or a player to be named.

Asked about the Pirates’ game Monday in Atlanta when starting pitcher Joe Musgrove and manager Clint Hurdle were ejected after a benches-clearing confrontation between the teams, Huntington said the umpires were in a “tough situation” after Musgrove hit the Braves’ Josh Donaldson with a pitch in the first inning and words were exchanged.

The Pirates contacted the National League office to question Musgrove’s ejection.

“It’s a shame,” Huntington said. “We obviously disagree with the (umpires’) judgment call. We voiced those opinions to Major League Baseball.

“All we can do is turn the page and move on.”

Huntington also emphasized pitching toward the inside part of the plate does not always indicate an intention to hit the batter.

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