The Pirates have a huge 10-game homestand starting tonight against the Philadelphia Phillies. As I wrote here, this homestand and month will go a long way in determining exactly how good this Pirates team is.
After the homestand the Pirates go on the road and two weeks from tonight, in Cleveland, they start the first of the four interleague series they will play this month. The injuries to Ryan Doumit and Steve Pearce couldn't have come at a worse time, because they were the two guys who were going to be used in the DH role for the six games in AL parks. Now the Pirates only have one guy on their roster who could even potentially be used as a DH. Currently their five bench guys are back-up infielders Brandon Wood and Pedro Ciriaco, catcher Dusty Brown, the offside of the platoon of Garrett Jones/Matt Diaz and outfielder Xavier Paul. The first four guys aren't going to DH, period. That leaves Xavier Paul.
Xavier Paul had a big day yesterday batting leadoff and getting four hits. If the Pirates went this way they could play Paul in right and use the Jones/Diaz platoon as the DH. This isn't a terrible idea. But there is a better alternative.
Call up Alex Presley for two weeks and let him play. At this point there is no reason to have Pedro Ciriaco on the roster. Since being called up two weeks ago Ciriaco has played in one game and had one at bat. If Cedeno gets hurt call him back up, but there is no point in him being here otherwise. The interleague games give the Pirates the perfect opportunity to look at Presley.
It's taken me a while to warm to Presley, but he went 3-for-5 again last night and hit two three-run homers and made a great catch in left. In 215 at bats this season, he is now hitting .344/.386/.530 with 13 stolen bases. Those are big numbers. You don't want to bring up Presley and sit him. The interleague games provide him the opportunity to get maybe 10 starts over a two-week period.
Presley has done enough for a long enough period of time that it is now time to see if he can play at the major league level. The struggles of Garrett Jones and Matt Diaz certainly contribute to this. The injuries to Doumit and Pearce are unfortunate for them and the team. But, like most inuries, the silver lining is the opportunity presented to other players. Presley has earned the promotion and a longer look.
I'm betting the Pirates agree and he'll be in the starting lineup in Cleveland on June 17.