The Pirates, after placing reliever Donnie Veal on the 15-day disabled list yesterday because of a strained right groin, are set to make two bullpen moves in the next few days.
The first will come today, and it likely will be a promotion of Steven Jackson from Class AAA Indianapolis, Jackson, a 27-year-old right-hander acquired from the New York Yankees in a waiver claim May 18, has a 3.10 ERA in 11 appearances, 15 strikeouts and four walks. He would assume a middle-relief role.
The next move is expected later in the week, and it likely will be Tom Gorzelanny being returned to Indianapolis to resume his starter's role there. He would be replaced by an experienced reliever capable of pitching late innings, with Chris Bootcheck and Denny Bautista the candidates for this one.
Jackson already is on the full 40-man roster, but Bootcheck or Bautista would have to be added. That could happen with reliever Craig Hansen, who is unable to use two muscles in his upper back because a nerve is not sending signals, being moved to the 60-day disabled list.
"Realistically, Craig is going to be out a while," general manager Neal Huntington said.
Veal, the Pirates' sparingly used Rule 5 draft pick, was hurt during his two-inning appearance Friday, Huntington said, when he stepped repeatedly into a rut in the mound caused by Houston starter Brian Moehler's heavy landings with his front foot. The athletic trainers advised 7-10 days of rest for Veal, so the Pirates took advantage of what Huntington described as "admittedly an aggressive placement on the DL" with a hope of getting him more work during his rehabilitation.
"In a strange way, this injury could actually help Donnie," Huntington said.
Under Rule 5, the Pirates cannot keep Veal on a rehabilitation assignment list longer than 30 days.
Huntington sharpened his definition for catcher Ryan Doumit's recovery period from his fractured right wrist, pointing more toward the All-Star break July 13-16 than the original mid-June target.
"If it were up to Ryan, he'd be playing today," Huntington said. "If it costs us 7-10 games in June to make sure we don't re-injure this, that's what we'll do. We owe it to Ryan and to ourselves to do the right thing. If it's early July, so be it. If it's late July, so be it."
Doumit caught a bullpen session yesterday but is not close to being able to throw or swing a bat.
The Pirates are expecting reliever Tyler Yates to miss 2-3 more weeks because of his sore right elbow.
Outfielder Jose Tabata, one of the system's top three prospects, should elevate his rehabilitation from a strained hamstring to begin competing in extended spring training games later this week.
Huntington offered this striking assessment, courtesy of his statistical people: "Some of our defensive metrics right now have Nyjer Morgan as the best outfielder in baseball."