After playing shorthanded for several days, the Pirates have unsurprisingly placed third baseman David Freese on the ten-day disabled list with a right hamstring strain. He’ll be eligible to return in a week. To replace him, they’ve called up outfielder Danny Ortiz from Indianapolis for some reason. Ortiz had to be added to the 40-man roster, but there were already three openings.
Last night’s explosion notwithstanding, the Pirates’ anemic offense didn’t need to lose Freese, who’s been by far their best hitter. At 321/418/536, he leads the team in OBP and slugging, the latter by a wide margin, and is second in average to Josh Harrison. He’s tied for the team lead in HRs and tied for second in RBIs.
Ortiz is a AAA veteran whose addition is hard to explain. He’s never been considered a prospect, showing just modest power and very poor on-base ability, the result of an unwillingness to take a pitch. In 381 games in AAA, he has a poor line of 244/284/416. This year he’s hitting a dismal 217/266/233 in 64 plate appearances. He’s a good corner outfielder and passable in center, so maybe he’ll be useful as a defensive replacement for Jose Osuna in right. There’s little likelihood that he’ll serve any purpose with a bat in his hands. The team could instead have called up Chris Bostick, who’s already on the 40-man, has experience in the outfield, and is actually hitting well. Apparently, though, somebody in the front office had an uncontrollable hankering to return to the days of John McDonald and Jayson Nix.