The Pittsburgh Pirates are currently dealing with two injuries which could result in some big changes to both the 25-man roster and the 40-man roster over the next few days. Yesterday, Steve Pearce left the game with a calf injury, and missed time today. There’s been some speculation that he could go on the disabled list. Today, Ryan Doumit left the game with a sprained ankle, which almost certainly will require a trip to the disabled list.
Dusty Brown is the most likely to get the call to the majors if Doumit goes on the disabled list, as he was removed from the Indianapolis lineup prior to the game. There is an open spot on the 40-man roster, so the Pirates wouldn’t have to make a corresponding move in order to make room for Brown.
If Pearce goes on the disabled list, things could get tricky. The Pirates would be unlikely to call up Alex Presley, since they have Matt Diaz and Xavier Paul already in the outfield, and would need someone who could replace Pearce at the corner infield spots. Outside of Presley, the only position players on the 40-man roster are Jaramillo and Gorkys Hernandez, and neither are options to fill a corner infield role.
If Pearce goes on the disabled list, the Pirates are most likely going to have to add someone to the 40-man roster to take his place. There are two options in Indianapolis right now. The first is Andy Marte, who has been on fire lately, with a .323/.364/.645 line in his last ten games, with three homers in 31 at-bats. The second is Josh Harrison, who is hitting for a .331/.371/.469 line in 130 at-bats at the AAA level this season.
Marte would be more of a short term option, splitting time with Brandon Wood, until Pedro Alvarez returns, which looks to be in a few weeks since he just started his rehab work. Harrison is the prospect in this situation, and actually has some upside, while Marte will most likely be just another Wood, or John Bowker, with success at AAA, and struggles at the majors. The only reason to hold Harrison back would be to allow continued development at the AAA level.
My opinion is that Harrison has a long term value as a super utility player. He’s been a great hitter at almost every level, and is definitely proving himself in AAA. That said, he doesn’t have a true defensive position, but can play almost anywhere, which makes him a good asset to have on the bench.
If it was my call, and Pearce had to go on the disabled list, Josh Harrison would be the guy I’d promote to the majors. That would give him a few weeks to prove himself at the major league level with Pedro Alvarez out. When Alvarez returned, the Pirates could make a decision on what to do with Harrison. If at that point he was hitting in the majors, I’d end the Brandon Wood experiment, and go with Harrison on the bench, as he is someone who might actually have a future with the team.
As for creating spot, the top candidate would be Chris Leroux. Leroux has a live arm, throwing in the mid-90s, but that hasn’t translated to success, as he currently has a 4.35 ERA in 20.2 innings in AAA, with an 18:14 K/BB ratio. The Pirates’ bullpen doesn’t need much help right now. At this point, if there was an injury, Leroux would be the only guy on the 40-man roster to serve as a replacement. However, the Pirates have other options in AAA, such as Tim Wood, and could always clear space if an injury does come up (maybe by waiving Brandon Wood).
UPDATE 8:20 PM: Pearce will be going on the disabled list, and Doumit looks like he will also be going on the DL. Look for two additions to the roster prior to tomorrow’s game. The Pirates will have to clear one spot on the 40-man roster.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.