Pirates Notebook: Vance Worley Replaces Radhames Liz

PITTSBURGH — The Pirates enter this crucial four-game set against the Chicago Cubs four-games ahead of them for the top Wild Card position and only 2.5 games behind the first-place St. Louis Cardinals in the NL Central. The Pirates and Cubs will play two today as part of a day/night double-header, beginning at 1:35.

The Pirates haven’t participated in a day/night double-header at home since the 2001 season, which makes today a new experience for many of the Pirates’ players on the roster. Depending on how today’s first game transpires, there will be roughly three hours of downtime prior to the start of the second game, which will provide the players the opportunity to regroup.

“They are going to shower, kick back, some will actually pick back up and have a little light workout in between,” Clint Hurdle said. “They’ll have a chance for a meal, we have the [regeneration] room if someone wants to take a nap, so we’re fit for duty.”

Hurdle mentioned pregame that the clubs’ objective is to not overtax anybody throughout the day. It is unlikely that a reliever will be available to pitch in both games, and it is probable that game-two’s lineup will look very different than game-one’s. Hurdle believes that most of the roster will get the opportunity to contribute throughout the day with the goal to be as competitive as possible.

Starling Marte (illness) is available off of the bench for game-one, and is tentatively penciled in to start game-two, according to Hurdle.

Pirates Recall Worley, DFA Liz

The Pirates announced this morning that they had recalled Vance Worley from Triple-A Indianapolis and designated Radhames Liz for assignment to open up a spot for Worley on the 40-man roster.

Worley has been efficient in his last four starts with Indianapolis, which included two consecutive eight-inning outings that he completed in under 100 pitches.

“He’s back in a very good routine,” Hurdle explained. “He went down there with intent and with purpose to get the consistency, command and overall execution of his pitches back in place.”

According to Hurdle, the Pirates are moving forward with Worley over Liz because of overall “command and execution.” The initial plan for Worley is to resume the long-relief role that he previously held, and he can provide the Pirates with a more dependable option to make a spot-start if the situation arises down the stretch.

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Was the last day/night double header the Rob Mackowiak day?


It really sucks that Cole isn’t in line for the win this afternoon. It’s a shame he tired like that. Maybe CH should’ve pulled him after that first hit.


Did you see either wild pitch? I only have the audio.

Luke S

One of them likely should have been blocked. First was a FB that Stewart just didnt get down on quick enough, second was a FB he tried to backhand. Tough to deal with a FB near the dirt, but not so tough 2 go beyond you to the backstop.


Thanks, buddy.


I have MLB Gameday up at work. I’m checking it every few minutes. Cole looked like he was cruising and then hit a wall with 1 out in the 7th. Nice manufactured run in the bottom of the 8th though.

Luke S

Cole likely got the GB he needed, but it hit his foot on follow through. Really didnt give up hard contact until the double.


Looks like we can still raise the jolly roger. Now they need to win the nightcap. Need to sweep this DH.

Travis P

I think it’s hard for any of us to say Liz needs to be used a certain way or we didn’t handle him right.
We brought him BACK to the states on something they thought they could use…out of the pen. I’m sure what the Pirates planned to do with him he knew of, or he would have stayed back or looked possibly at a minor league deal somewhere else. There’s always the “exceptions,” but come on…if he was really “that dominant” or “intriguing” I imagine another team would have tried to swoop on in this year.

To say they didn’t handle his situation well is a bit of a reach to me…he’s a fringe, at a his absolute best, 5th SP that they wanted to see him use his stuff in short bursts. I think some people are over valuing what he really is.


I’m definitely guilty of over valuing him.

I think he gets picked up by someone else though.


I just know noticed Vanimal’s killer mustache in that pic. Does he have that now?


Is there a limit to how bad Jordy Mercer has to be before Hurdle starts treating him like the rest of his players?


Disclaimer: I’m not very sold at all on defensive metrics at this point. That being said there is a vast difference between Mercer and anyone else we could play at SS. I think that fails to get mentioned enough when comments about Jordy come up on here.


Gonna have to define “vast”. We’re not watching Andrelton out there, after all, or anything close to that. DRS actually has Mercer and Kang equal at one run saved,

Jordy’s an above average defender, and I’m sure defense is why he’s in there, but he’s simply not good enough with the glove to make up for lack of anything else on the bases or at the plate. Play him against lefties and paired with extreme GB pitchers, but he’s a stretch as an everyday guy.


Well I thought I had read that before but I can’t remember where so I concede I suppose. While he’s certainly no Simmons, at least in my eyes I do like his defense much better than kangs. And lord knows defense is already a sore spot on this team.


I would put Harrison at 2nd.

Maybe it’s possible Walker/Alvarez/and/or Melancon could bring back a viable SS/3b option and you play Kang accordingly.


That’s an option, I just don’t think what you get back for any or all of that package(due to contract situation) is worth depleting all that depth. You’re talking about replacing an average or better 2B and an elite closer on a contending team. That’s a lot!

Wouldn’t be bad to see if more reps at 2B made Harrison more comfortable, though.


They certainly have some interesting roster decisions to make. One thing I am certain of, is that it’s been a long, long time since a Pirates GM has had this much talent on his 25 man ( under control) headed into next year, with a minor league system that’s in relatively good shape. I’m fascinated with how NH approaches it.


Give us plenty to talk about this winter, that’s for sure.


I was thinking the same, of course once the season is over we will hear that his knee never fully heal…..I know he stunk before that too


Kang at SS with Uribe at 3rd in 2016?


In terms of bulk playing time, I’m with Kozy on Kang/J-Hay.

Harrison has to be given a chance to salvage the back end of his contract, and the only way he’s going to do that is as the primary 3B (IMO, obviously). Bat isn’t good enough to carry poor defensive value, which I think he’ll show over time in the outfield and at 2B. Just doesn’t have the instincts to be plus at anything but 3B, and he needs to be a positive defender and baserunner in order to be a 2-win player.

Jordy just isn’t anything more than a platoon player on a contending team as long as a decent alternative exists.


Kang at SS with J-Hay at 3rd. Maybe Hanson can get his yips together and play SS.

Bill W

Yes that would have been good in the extra inning Brewer game where he melted like a June bug in August


Glad to see Vanimal back. I am not as high on Liz as other guys on here. He just doesn’t seem like he has the mental acumen to have success at the big league level.

Scott K

Welcome back Vanimal!


What. A. Tease.


While the Pirate’s have done many things right this year, their handling of Liz wasn’t one of them. I hope they can keep him, and this time, use him as a starter only and go from there. If not, someone else certainly will. Thats not to say he is a lock as a starter, but he has a better shot in that role then as a relief pitcher.


The Pirates didn’t really mishandle him. They risked $1 million on an inexperienced 31-year old pitcher with a 98 mph fastball that they saw as potential bullpen help or even as a starting option in an emergency. The only real mistake was not being able to get him signed as a minor league free agent – but he probably wouldn’t have signed on as that.
When he couldn’t break into the starting rotation they needed to keep him in the majors or risk losing him and their $1 million investment. That “forced” them to keep him in the majors as a reliever and hope he could adjust. (This is not an unreasonable hope.) When he failed to adjust, they didn’t really have a choice but to assign him in the midst of a pennant race – and he had performed so badly that no one claimed him.
He did get on a roll as a starter in AAA but by the end of the year it was clear he wouldn’t break into the Major rotation. Since they didn’t give him the money to pitch in the AAA playoffs – they took a chance at converting him back to a reliever. My guess is that, next year, some team should be able to sign him to a minor league free agent contract as he has failed in every major league attempt, he will be 32-years old, and has “proven” that he can’t handle relief pitching with its irregular work pattern. Of course, he can finally go to Japan/Korea as he intended to before the Buccos signed him…

Douglas C

You are right LJS. I posted this a few days ago and Liz has stated that he is uncomfortable and has not had the experience of being a relief picture. The FO insists in trying him in this roll. I guess throwing 98 mph is enticing OR it could mean WHAT DO I KNOW.


I’d much rather have Worley in extra innings than Liz right now, but at the same time Liz showed me enough that I hope they retain him and he is given a shot at the 5th starter spot next year. Guys that can throw 95 mph may grown on trees now, but guys that can throw 98 do not.

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