Brandon Cumpton optioned
The Pirates reinstated Gerrit Cole from the 15-day disabled list today. To make room on the roster, Brandon Cumpton has been optioned to Triple-A, Indianapolis.
"I shared with him the difference he made while he was here, the lifeline he was able to throw us," Clint Hurdle said of his conversation with Cumpton this afternoon. "[I told him] 'it's not like it was a pitch-off and you came in third place, or third best. Worley is out of options, he's pitched well, he's staying. Locke has pitched well and was an All-Star last year, he's staying. You pitched well, there is no reason to hang your head.'"
Hurdle continued to describe his conversation with Cumpton: "'Guys are going to hug you and tell you great job. They'll look forward to you coming back. Sometimes when a guy goes it's, 'hey, see ya.' There won't be one 'see you' today. You did the job, you met the demands. Take that down with you and stay hungry.'"
Ernesto Fieri's bullpen role
Hurdle hinted that newly acquired Ernesto Fieri will be thrown in the mix quickly, possibly even pitching tonight if needed.
"I plan on getting him involved as soon as possible," Hurdle said. "We might look for an opportunity sooner rather than later to use him in a non leverage situation, based on what we have available in the bullpen with [Jared] Hughes being [unavailable tonight]."
Hurdle mapped the bullpen roles moving forward as Mark Melancon as closer, with Tony Watson filling that role when Melancon is unavailable. Justin Wilson and Hughes are "back end guys," and "[Fieri] has every opportunity to be a back end guy."
Hurdle's scouting report
Fieri's fast ball is "explosive," Hurdle said. "He throws strike for the most part, which is one of the reasons he's given up so many homers this year."
"When he's been good, it's been the explosive fastball and the spin pitch," Hurdle continued. "He can pitch up in the zone aggressively. He's not a guy that is going to dot-it-up, he's going to let it eat."
Niese batting eighth for the Mets
The Mets are batting their starting pitcher, Jon Niese, in the eighth slot tonight.
Hurdle said that he has talked about batting a pitcher eighth in the past as a way to set up the third hitter, but he's never done it. The Pirates don't have a starting lineup that is conducive to making that change.
"I think with certain lineup structures, it would be an area to explore. I don't believe we have one here. I believe there are certain players and skill sets you need to have in play to actually maximize that opportunity."