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Bucs Option Brian Bixler, Sign Jorge Julio

The Pirates have sent Brian Bixler back to the minors and signed Jorge Julio to a minor league contract.

I'm not usually inclined to draw conclusions from 33-at-bat samples, but Bixler's amazingly poor showing in 33 at bats this year just confirms what we should have already known--he's terrible. Bixler's spectacular 23 strikeouts in those 33 at bats are reminiscent of strikeout king Mark Reynolds, if you shrunk Reynolds to half his normal size, put a blindfold on him and spun him around until dizzy before guiding him to the plate. Bixler's performance this year has been something special, rivaling Mike Benjamin's 2002, Don Kelly's 2007 or John Van Benschoten's whole career for hilarity. (Even aside from Bixler's performance, there's also the fact that he pretty much always looks like a deer in the headlights, which isn't his fault but which heightens the already overwhelming impression that he has no idea what he's doing out there.)

predicted that the Pirates would sign Julio as a free agent last offseason; that didn't happen, and it's a good thing, too, because Julio stunk it up in both the bigs and AAA this year. He's exactly the sort of hard-throwing, control-challenged reliever Neal Huntington loves to take chances on, though. I wonder why they're signing him at this late point in the season; Indianapolis only plays through September 7, and they won't be heading to the International League playoffs. I sincerely hope we aren't going to see Julio in Pittsburgh.

UPDATE: And Brad Lincoln will take Daniel McCutchen's spot on the U.S. World Cup team. Scott McCauley is all over all this Indianapolis news.