June 3, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates left fielder Gorkys Hernandez (62) makes a running catch on ball hit by Milwaukee Brewers right fielder Corey Hart (1) in the eighth inning at Miller Park. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE
Kristy Robinson tweeted early this morning that Gorkys Hernandez is on his way to Pittsburgh. She also said she had been told about the corresponding move "off the record," and the Pirates would be making an announcement this afternoon.
There are a couple different things the Pirates might do in order to clear a spot for Hernandez on the 25-man roster. First, this could be a straight swap of Gorkys for Jose Tabata, much like we saw earlier in the year when Alex Presley was sent down.
Alternatively, the Pirates could option Eric Fryer back to AAA. Fryer has been up for about a week as an emergency catcher with Rod Barajas dinged up, but has yet to get an at bat and has appeared in only one game. Barajas was originally in the starting lineup last night, but was a late scratch.
Muddying the waters a bit more is the fact that Chris Leroux's 30-day rehab is ending any day now (Thursday by my unofficial count.) When his rehab ends the Pirates will need to make a roster decision on him because he is out of options. If they decide to keep him he will be reinstated to the 40-man roster and added to the 25-man. If Fryer is still around, DFA'ing him would solve both problems, but would mean the Pirates would have an 13 pitchers and 12 position players and a couple more moves would likely follow. The question concerning Leroux will likely revolve around the fact that he is more suited to be a long-man than any of the other relievers on the roster other than Lincoln. With Lincoln likely to be pitching more high-leverage, late-inning situations it may come down to Leroux, Chris Resop and Juan Cruz with two of them staying with the team and one being DFA'd. The other choice could be to option Jared Hughes who pitched two scoreless innings last night, but he has been so effective I see that as less likely.
With all the buzz around Starling Marte recently, eight straight multi-hit games and IL Player of the Week this past week, the move with Hernandez will probably surprise some, but with the All-Star break around the corner this probably makes the most sense.
UPDATE: I have been told by the Pirates that Leroux's rehab stint does in fact end tomorrow, so expect another announcement on him sometime Thursday.