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Pregame: Pirates recall Clint Barmes, DFA Jayson Nix

Justin K. Aller

Notes and quotes from today's pregame:

Roster moves

The Pirates have recalled Clint Barmes from his injury rehab assignment and reinstated him from the 15-day disabled list.

Also, the Pirates announced the optioning of Gregory Polanco to Triple-A Indianapolis. Jose Tabata has been selected to take his place on the 25-man roster.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Tabata, Jayson Nix has been designated for assignment.

Before tonight's game, Tabata appeared clearly relieved and happy to be rejoining his teammates.

"Wow, it's great," Tabata said. "It's my team right here. It's my guys. I'm very happy. When they told me yesterday, I jumped a little bit and was like ‘are you serious?'"

He admitted to being "a little bit" frustrated when he first learned that he was designated for assignment and that the team didn't tell him the reason for the demotion.

"No [they didn't give me a reason], they just said to continue working and work hard and see what happens later," Tabata said.

Clint Hurdle said that Tabata handled his demotion in a "professional manner," but added that too much shouldn't be made of his willingness to accept the assignment, since players in his situation don't have much of a choice.

"There is another side to to this, if they choose not to go they forfeit their salary," Hurdle said. "Let's be transparent about this before you want to hand him any medals for going down there and showing up."

Hurdle said that Tabata has had chances with the club in the past and that this promotion provides the right-fielder with yet another opportunity to become a "viable contributor to a major league club."

Polanco demotion

Travis Snider's emergence and Gregory Polanco's slump in the last three weeks led to the latter's demotion to Triple-A, Hurdle said.

"He's outplaying him" Hurdle said of Snider's production compared to Polanco's. "The timing is off in [Polanco's] swing. And, I don't think the best way him to spend the next week is sitting on the bench."

Hurdle expects Polanco to return in a week and be an important contributor down the stretch.

"He'll come back here and help this ball club in September in a very positive fashion," Hurdle said.

Similar to how Josh Harrison's torrid stretch in May lifted the Pirates when they were desperately looking for offense from the corner outfield position, Snider's recent hot streak is precisely what the Pirates needed at exactly the right time. In August, he's posted a 135 wRC+, adding 0.5 WAR, while hitting .297/.342/.500. For comparison's sake, Harrison posted a 139 wRC+, added 0.7 WAR, and hit .317/.356/.488 in May.

"The guy's done everything we could have asked for him to do," Hurdle said. "He's given us a big shot in the arm and afforded the opportunity to let [Polanco] go recalibrate."

Polanco eligible for playoff roster

Hurdle said that there weren't any concerns about Polanco's eligibility for the postseason roster.

"He's eligible for the playoff roster based on the fact he's on the 40-man option," Hurdle explained. "The rules have changed this year from last year. He's good."

Polanco will be recalled September 2nd, Hurdle added.

Mercer and Harrison to get breaks

Look for Jordy Mercer and Josh Harrison to each get a game or two off during the home stand. Hurdle said that the addition of Barmes and Tabata gives him more roster flexibility and the ability to give each player some rest.

"It'll give us the opportunity to get Mercer off his feet and possibility Harrison off his feet sooner than later," Hurdle said. "Those two have had to grind since the All-Star Break."

Scouting Lackey

One of the pleasures of transcribing Hurdle's pre and post game pressers are typing out his metaphorically-rich descriptions of the game and its players. Today was no exception. Summarizing tonight's mound opponent, John Lackey, Hurdle said the right-hander was a "blue collar guy with a work bench, looking to get something done." "He's going to carve guys up in different ways."

Morton rehab assignment

Charlie Morton threw a bullpen yesterday and he will pitch in rehab game in Altoona on Thursday. He is scheduled for five innings or 55 innings, whichever comes first.