The Pittsburgh Pirates have selected the contract of right-handed pitcher Chris Volstad from Indianapolis and placed 1B/OF Corey Hart on the disabled list to create room on the 25-man roster. Hart’s injury is described as a left shoulder impingement.
Volstad will join a bullpen that has got a lot of use the last couple games with the two starters combining for 4.2 innings. In Indianapolis, Volstad had a 3.43 ERA in 76 innings, with a 26:50 BB/SO ratio, a .266 BAA and a 1.63 GO/AO ratio. He has spent all or part of six seasons in the majors, last appearance in six games for the 2013 Colorado Rockies.
UPDATE 5:42 PM, By Nate Barnes:
Manager Clint Hurdle said Corey Hart’s left shoulder impingement is something he’s been dealing with for awhile and now was the time to shut him down.
“After yesterday talking with him we feel this is the proper time to get him some rest, to get it right then get him some at-bats and see where that can take us,” Hurdle said.
Hart received a cluster of at-bats last week as the Pirates faced five starting pitchers in seven days. He went 3-f0r-3 in Chicago Thursday and hit a two-run home run Sunday.
Hurdle didn’t dismiss the notion Hart’s injury could’ve flared up in recent games with his increased activity, but said there wasn’t anything specific and indicated the injury gradually built up over time.
“He’s been going at it for awhile so could that have moved it forward, possibly,” Hurdle said. “But it’s been something he’s been dealing with for awhile.”
Chris Volstad joins the bullpen as the Pirates made an uncommon move to replace a hitter with a pitcher. Pittsburgh is left with four bench players as result.
But because of the tax placed on the bullpen lately, the move was necessary to protect the relievers.
Vance Worley is still unavailable after throwing 84 pitches between outings Saturday and Sunday while Arquimedes Caminero was also out of the picture for Wednesday’s game. Also, Tony Watson and Mark Melancon are only available in the “appropriate situation” meaning only the eighth and ninth, respectively, with Pittsburgh leading.
Volstad signed a minor-league deal with the Pirates in January and has not pitched in the majors in just over two years.
His last major league appearance came June 15, 2013 when he pitched an inning of relief for Colorado. He was designated for assignment June 20.
Volstad joined the Angels on a minor-league deal later that offseason but went to pitch in Korea for the Doosan Bears in 2014. He was released in July.
“He’s had to re-create himself,” Hurdle said. “We got him in our organization, I know Neal’s had his sights on him for awhile. Thought he could be one of the guys that we could bring back in and help rekindle.”
Volstad was ranked as the Marlins’ top prospect by Baseball America following the 2006 season, and No. 2 in the organization in 2007. He debuted in 2008 and went 6-4 with a 2.88 ERA in 14 starts.
His major-league debut was against the Colorado Rockies , then managed by his current manager in Hurdle, on July 6, 2008. Volstad pitched two scoreless innings of relief.
In his first full season, Volstad went 9-13 with a 5.21 ERA. He never posted an ERA below 4.58 in his four years as a starter following his rookie campaign.
For Triple-A Indianapolis this season, Volstad is 5-2 with a 3.43 ERA over 12 starts and two relief appearances.
The organization emphasized the importance of delivery to Volstad, which seems to have worked in the lower level.
“The importance of nailing the delivery at the top, pitching with intent,” Hurdle said. “He’s still got the two-seamer that’s played. He went through a tough stretch earlier this year in Indy and then got on a nice roll within this last month.”
How long Volstad remains in Pittsburgh remains to be seen. There is an off-day coming up Monday which could provide an opportunity for the bullpen to catch its breath and the team to add a fifth player back to the bench.
Either way, Volstad looks forward to helping as someone, per Hurdle, “has worked hard to get another opportunity that has a lot of meaning for him, to work as hard as he did to get this opportunity.”