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Brandon Cumpton to start Saturday vs. Dodgers


This afternoon Pirates manager Clint Hurdle confirmed that Brandon Cumpton will start Saturday vs. the Dodgers. The Pirates have until 1:00 tomorrow to add him to the roster. Originally Jeff Locke was schedule to start Saturday, but he will start tonight taking A.J. Burnett's spot who was placed on the 15 day disabled list with a grade one tear to his right calf.

Cumpton began this season with Altoona and was promoted on April 9. For Indianapolis this season Cumpton has pitched 65.1 innings, allowed 59 hits and four home runs, walked 22 (3.0 BB/9) with 49 strikeouts (6.8 K/9). He posted a 3.31 ERA.

Comments from Cumpton before tonight's game:

I’m awed right now. I don’t know what to think. I’m sure it’ll settle in some time later maybe. … They told me last night after the game, we were down in Durham, North Carolina. … I was shocked. I had no idea. I didn’t see it coming at all. Blindsided by that (the callup). …

It’s going to be tough to hold back emotions the first time, but going to try to treat it like every start. Try to go out there and do what I do: try to throw strikes and put the ball on the ground.

Hurdle on Brandon Cumpton:

He’s developed organizationally. A three pitch guy. Eight of his last nine outings he’s given up two earned runs or less. Averages six-plus innings. Strikeout to walk ratio about two-to-one. Strike thrower. Moves the ball to both sides of the plate. Spin it. Change speeds. He’s a competitor.

When people go down you look for the next man up. The next man available to go at that particular time, as well. There’s a lot of moving pieces that go into it. If you throw strikes and get outs you obviously have the opportunity to work in the express lane throughout the minor league system.

UPDATE by Charlie: Given all the injuries to starting pitchers, the Pirates obviously didn't have a ton of choices here, and Cumpton was as good as any, particularly given that A.J. Burnett's DL stint ensures he'll miss at least a couple starts. Cumpton last pitched June 10, so he'll have enough rest before pitching tomorrow.

Cumpton obviously isn't a future star, but he does a reasonable job limiting walks, and he keeps the ball on the ground. His ceiling is probably that of a back-of-the-rotation starter, and the Pirates probably would have preferred to leave him in the minors a while longer, but obviously, they're running out of choices, and Cumpton's ground-ball tendencies make him unlikely to be a disaster.