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Pirates to move Juan Nicasio to bullpen, likely to promote Chad Kuhl

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Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Chad Kuhl is working out with the Pirates, a likely indication that he will be the Bucs' mystery starter on Sunday against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers. The Pirates will move Juan Nicasio, who just returned from the restricted list, to the bullpen.

As I've mentioned before, I would have preferred to see Nicasio remain in the rotation while Jeff Locke got bumped. Regardless, I'm interested to see how Kuhl will do. He's had a terrific season for Indianapolis, with a 2.58 ERA, 6.9 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9. It's perhaps a warning sign that he's tailed off a bit recently, more than doubling his ERA (which was just 1.24 at the end of May) in his last four starts. He's also never been a big strikeout guy, a trait that could prove problematic at times in the majors.

Kuhl gets more than his share of ground balls, though, thanks to his power sinker, and he's improved his control this season. He also looks to be a finished product, or close to it (unlike Tyler Glasnow, whose control has been a persistent problem recently), so given the Pirates' starting pitching troubles, there wasn't much reason for them not to promote him.