The Pittsburgh Pirates made so many roster moves this past week that I had to actually draw myself a chart to keep everything in order. Let's see if I have this straight.
Last Sunday lefty Phil Dumatrait was put on the disabled list. His spot was taken by T.J. Beam. Beam was then sent back to Indianapolis Wednesday when righthander Denny Bautista was acquired from the Detroit Tigers.
Meanwhile, Nyjer Morgan who had been called up to replace Marino Salas, was sent back to Indianapolis so that John Van Benschoten could be called up for seemingly the umpteenth time.
Beam, was called back up again on Thursday when Ian Snell was put in the disabled list. However, Beam was sent back to Indianapolis once more to make room for Jimmy Barthmaier, who pitched Friday night. Barthmaier was sent out Saturday morning to clear a roster spot for Ty Taubenheim, who pitched Saturday night. Like Barthmaier the day before him, Taubenheim barely had enough time to send out for room service before he was on his way back to rejoin Indianapolis. Replacing Taubenheim, was reliever Romulo Sanchez. Hold on, I'm not done yet.
Beam, you remember him, he's a recurring character in this column, was called back up Saturday, to replace Franquelis Osoria who went on the disabled list. Thankfully, with all these moves, Indianapolis was in Columbus, making it easier to get players to Pittsburgh.
I wonder if the Pirates' charter made a stopover in Columbus last night on their way to Cincinnati to pick anyone else up.
With Barthmaier struggling to get outs Friday night (7 runs, 2.2 innings), Bautista was rushed into action. The third batter he faced, blasted a ball off Bautista's right forearm forcing him to leave the game.
Fortunately, results were negative.
"I didn't know what the problem was. I just knew it hurt," said a much-relieved Bautista Sunday morning. "It still hurts, but at least there's no ligament damage. It's just a bad bruise."
General manager Neal Huntington gave this report on Sanchez, who is nicknamed "Big Chief".
"Romulo is a big, strong, physical guy," said Huntington. "He has a plus-fastball and a quality change up. He needs to improve his consistency. We brought him up to give him an opportunity to get some more major league experience."
Sanchez spent the bulk of the 2007 season at Double-A Altoona before being called up to the Pirates on August 25. He went 1-0 with a 5.00 ERA in 16 games, all in relief in 2007. The 24-year old was 4-0 with four saves and a 2.58 ERA in 25 relief appearances at Triple-A this year.
Currently on the club's 60-day disabled list, outfielder Chris Duffy must be activated no later than July 4. By being on the 60, Duffy doesn't count against the 40-man roster. When he is activated, no matter what level he goes to, someone will have to be removed from the 40-man roster, exposing them to waivers. This might be the time to expose Duffy to waivers. With Nate McLouth set in centerfield and Andrew McCutcheon waiting in the wings, Duffy's only hope of playing in Pittsburgh will come when Xavier Nady is traded.
With all the moves between Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, the Triple-A Indians found themselves needing pitchers. Michel Hernandez, who fled Cuba in 1996, was promoted from Double-A Altoona to Indy. Saturday night, Ryan Drese lost in his Indianapolis debut, surrendering nine hits in four innings. He gave up seven earned runs. Indy also called up Corey Hamman, Evan Meek and Yoslan Herrera in recent days. Outfielder Kevin Thompson, who had season-ending wrist surgery was released while pitcher Jonah
Bayliss' contract was to the Toronto Blue Jays organization.
With the Pirates having played 81 games, they have reached the midpoint of the 2008 season with a 38-43 record. A year ago they were 35-46 after 81 games. The last year the Pirates had at least 38 wins after the first 81 games was 1999 (40-41).