SAN DIEGO -- Following a crazy weekend that saw a 19-inning game, a handful of injuries and the birth of Jordy Mercer's son, the Pirates are finally starting to restore order to an active roster that has been, well, very active of late.First of all, manager Clint Hurdle has his rotation set for the next week, no easy feat after he had to use Monday's scheduled starter, Wandy Rodriguez, in Sunday's 19-inning game and slide reliever Kevin Correia into that starting spot. Hurdle has pegged Rodriguez to get back on the mound Friday for the Pirates' series opener with the Brewers in Pittsburgh. He'll be followed by Jeff Karstens, who started Sunday's game, on Saturday, and Erik Bedard will take the hill on Sunday. That gives the Pirates a starting corps of A.J. Burnett, James McDonald and Rodriguez for another crucial series with the Cardinals next week. In addition to reining in the havoc wreaked on his starting rotation, Hurdle is beginning to see his bullpen return to full strength. Callups Kyle McPherson and Justin Wilson filled in aptly on Monday, giving arms like Jared Hughes and Chris Resop a much-needed break after being used heavily Sunday. McPherson and Wilson were sent back to Triple-A on Tuesday in favor of experienced relievers Daniel McCutchen and Chad Qualls, who will reclaim his spot in the 'pen after being placed on the bereavement list last week. While Hurdle said he does not consider Hughes and Resop available Tuesday if it's at all avoidable (Hughes worked two innings Sunday and Resop three), the Pirates' skipper does see the rest of his relief corps as being available. After his 4 1/3 innings on Monday and two the day before, Correia will get a few days' rest before returning to the bullpen. The Pirates also anticipate the return of infielder Jordy Mercer, who left Sunday to be with his wife due to the birth of his son, Maverick Lee. Hurdle says he expects Mercer to rejoin the club Friday after his three days of paternity leave and the club's off-day Thursday.
Top prospect Taillon makes Double-A debut
TRENTON -- Jameson Taillon, ranked by MLB.com as the top prospect in the Pirates' organization and fifth-best in all of baseball, made his first Double-A appearance Tuesday for Pittsburgh's Altoona Curve against the Trenton Thunder.Taillon worked five scoreless innings and struck out six. He scattered four hits and walked none while throwing 46 strikes in 67 pitches. The 6-foo-6 righty was promoted to the Curve on Friday from Class A Bradenton. He was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft and spent the 2011 season with the Class A West Virginia Power, where he threw 92 2/3 innings as a 19-year-old in his first professional campaign. With his Tuesday outing, Taillon has now surpassed that mark by 37 innings this season. He was 6-8 in 23 starts for Bradenton with two complete games. The Florida native struck out 98 in 125 innings while walking just 37, and held opponents to a .230 batting average prior to his promotion.
McCutchen, Qualls up; McPherson, Wilson down
SAN DIEGO -- After a busy day on Monday, the Pirates were active with their roster again Tuesday, reactivating reliever Chad Qualls from bereavement leave and recalling right-hander Daniel McCutchen from Triple-A Indianapolis.Those moves mean that Kyle McPherson and Justin Wilson, who were called up from Indianapolis Sunday night and flew to San Diego before Monday's game, are headed back to the Minors. McPherson and Wilson made successful Major League debuts in Monday night's 3-1 loss to the Padres. McPherson worked two scoreless innings and yielded just one hit, while Wilson struck out three Padres in the eighth. "It was a good day for the organization for both those men to get on the mound," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "They've put in a lot of hard work, and our development people are to be given a pat on the back, as both those young pitchers are able to come in and compete in a pennant race and show up well." Hurdle said Wilson, who has made 25 starts for the Indianapolis Indians, will see time in the bullpen when he rejoins the club. That might be an indication that the Pirates are considering a late-season callup for the lefty, who hit 94 mph on Monday. Qualls was placed on the bereavement list on Aug. 16 to deal with an illness in his family. He was sent to the Pirates from the Yankees as part of a Trade Deadline deal for infielder Casey McGehee and has yielded five earned runs in his first 5 2/3 innings with the Bucs. This will be McCutchen's third stint with the Pirates in 2012, though he has yet to pitch for Pittsburgh this season. He's appeared in 107 Major League games in his career, 15 of them starts, and owns an 8-10 record and 4.67 in parts of three big league seasons. "I was asleep, it was 2 o'clock in the morning because we were on Eastern Time," McCutchen, who was with the Indians in Syracuse, said. "I don't know how many times I've been called up in my career ... but every time's exciting. You just hope every time you get called up this is the one where you stick and you're in the big leagues for a long time." McCutchen's last outing was four innings of relief in Syracuse on Saturday, and has significant experience in the Pirates' bullpen after throwing a career high 84 2/3 innings in 2011. "That's exactly why he's here: for some length," Hurdle said. "With the options that we have, we didn't have much length available, and Daniel has definitely been stretched out and can provide us with that length option if needed."
Chelsea Janes is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.