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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Pirates Call Up Phil Irwin, Option Jeff Locke

The Pittsburgh Pirates have called up right-handed pitcher Phil Irwin, and have optioned Jeff Locke to Triple-A. Irwin started the year in the Indianapolis rotation, but moved to the bullpen after struggling in two starts. In his last three outings, he has given up one run on seven hits in 9.1 innings, with an 8:2 K/BB ratio.

Locke was up for a spot start yesterday, and was only expected to be in the majors for that one start. The Pirates don’t need a fifth starter until May 24th, which will allow them to use an extra spot on a reliever. Irwin was currently the only reliever available on the 40-man roster. Casey Sadler and Brandon Cumpton were both recently sent down, and can’t be recalled yet. The only other option, Duke Welker, is currently on the Indianapolis disabled list.

Irwin pitched once in the majors last year, making his debut on April 14th. That debut didn’t go well, and he was shut down for the year after just one more start in the minors. He dealt with elbow issues, and had ulnar nerve transposition surgery that ended his season. He’s got a great curveball and when his fastball is on, he can be a very effective pitcher.

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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.


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Things currently are about worse than anyone was suggesting prior to the season – however the worse has gotten really crappy with the bullpen being awful. I didn’t feel strong about Grilli and Melancon – but I did feel good about the other guys and they’ve not been good either.
I know it’s not going to happen – but just sayin – If Hanson and Polanco both came up, I’d feel more confident about our chances going forward than with Mercer/Snider/Tabata… I’ve always been a fan of Harrison as a super U guy – not a starting RF, but starting everywhere to give different guys a day off as needed. Just Sayin… better shot IMO.


I think trading Liriano and or Martin in July if things continue like this is a better way to fix the SS issue than calling Hanson up prematurely.


You think a guy with barely any AA experience, much less AAA experience, is ready to come up and play well now? All that will do is make you hate Hanson when he doesn’t prove to be better than Mercer in 2014. Give it time, this season is far from over, and a better hitting SS wont fix this team. They didn’t have a better hitting SS last year, their problems are everywhere else, starting with the pitching staff


Just as long as it isn’t Wandy

IC Bob

I guess we decided to bring up the worst performing pitcher we had thats available (Locke already pounded us yesterday). Looks to me like we are going after Houston and Arizona for the first pick

Joe Sweetnich

Most likely Irwin up just to cover a worn out pitching staff. Would expect Irwin to be exchanged for Lambo in a couple of days or after whenever Irwin gets into a game.


Meanwhile the guy not good enough for a QO keeps cruising along in Philly – Nothing better than a good “I told you so” 🙂


From the Simpsons…

Mr Burns: “You know, Smithers, I told you so has a brother. His name is ‘Shut the Hell Up.'”

Leefoo Rug Bug

Steve…couldn’t have said it better myself!


Maybe I’m missing something- prior to his last 2 outings Irwin had a WHIP of almost 2.5 by my calculation. This season is going from bad to worse.

Ron Loreski

I was hoping they would call up Lambo. But with the bullpen getting overused lately, and Harrison hitting well right now, I guess I understand the move. Maybe in a few days they can option Hughes and bring Lambo up.

Monsoon Harvard

Yeah, Lambo, me too. They’ll probably option Irwin back down in a few days I figure. Other than that stupid error Hughes made and his somewhat lack of control last night, he wasn’t pitching all that bad. Depends on how Irwin does, really. It could be one or the other.


Why they sent Sadler down is beyond me, he should have started instead of Locke and he would still be here, he pitched an inning or two on Fri, or Sat. but that should not have been a problem starting on Mon. I know they will go with the old he was not stretched out angle, but IMO, they screwed up with him. The two guys that pitched the best lately have both been sent back, Sadler and Cumpton, I don’t get it.

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