Notebook: House gets call after Davis lands on DL
Rookie outfielder J.J. Davis has landed on the disabled list for the second time this season, and the Pirates have called up catcher/first baseman J.R. House from Class AAA Nashville to take his spot on the roster.
Davis strained his right thigh muscle while legging out a double in his first at-bat Sunday afternoon in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was his first extra-base hit of the season. Preliminary indications were that Davis, who is batting .143, would miss a month.
"It's hard to say for sure how long he's going to be out right now," general manager Dave Littlefield said Thursday afternoon. "It's something we're going to take time with. You hate to have it linger the rest of the year."
Earlier in the season, Davis missed five weeks with a strained right pinky finger.
House batted .269 with 12 homers and 39 RBI in 63 games at Nashville. He was leading the Sounds with a .524 slugging percentage. House, who will be out of minor-league options next spring, spent the final week of the 2003 season with the Pirates and singled in his only at-bat.
Left-handed reliever Mike Johnston joined Nashville in Omaha last night. His injury-rehab assignment was transferred from rookie-level Bradenton, where he made one appearance.
Making his pitch
Paul Maholm, the Pirates' first-round pick last year, has started throwing off a mound in Bradenton as he attempts to rebound from a horrific injury. Maholm hasn't pitched since May 15 when he was struck in the face by a line drive.
The plan is for Maholm to be ready for game activity by Aug. 1. It remains to be seen whether he will pitch at Bradenton or Class A Lynchburg, where he was 1-3 with a 1.84 ERA at the time of his injury.
Putting up the Duke
Pitcher Zach Duke, the team's 20th-round pick in 2001, has been promoted to Class AA Altoona.
Duke, 21, was 10-5 with a 1.39 ERA in 17 starts at Class A Lynchburg. He had 106 strikeouts in 97 innings and was leading the Carolina League in wins, ERA and strikeouts.
Altoona second baseman Jeff Keppinger was named the MVP of the Eastern League All-Star Game after going 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI. Ian Snell and Bryan Bullington each pitched a scoreless inning in the game, and center fielder Chris Duffy was 1 for 4 with a run scored. ... Altoona infielder Kevin Nicholson has been named to the Canadian Olympic Team that will compete at the Athens Games next month. ... Reliever Pat Mahomes, who made nine appearances with the Pirates last year, has been re-signed to a minor-league contract and will pitch at Nashville.