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Pirates call up Kyle Nicolas; option Thomas Hatch, Place Andrew McCutchen on 60-day IL

Pirates announce they have called up Kyle Nicolas.

MLB: Spring Training-Pittsburgh Pirates Photo Day Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates have selected the contract of RHP Kyle Nicolas from AAA Indianapolis per a team announcement.

Nicolas, the 26th-ranked Pirates prospect according to MLB Pipeline, was acquired from the Miami Marlins in the Jacob Stallings trade in the 2021 offseason.

The 24-year-old never quite fit in as a starting pitcher, not that he didn’t have repertoire or the upside of one. With a fastball reaching the upper 90s with excellent vertical movement, a solid slider and curve, plus a change up, the stuff was never the issue.

A lack of command and a tendency to give up the long ball led to pedestrian or just plain bad final lines. There was always discussion about a future move to the pen, and his lines as a starter this year were the final nail in the coffin. Despite striking out 98 batters in 79.2 innings combined in both AA and AAA, his ERA was 5.99. The walk rates were 12.3 percent and opposing batters were hitting .280 against him.

The long speculated upon move to the pen was made and since then Nicolas has worked largely in relief with some opener use thrown in. In 19 innings pitched since the change, Nicolas has dominated AAA hitters. They were hitting just .123 against him over that stretch. Strikeout rates were a staggering 40.3 percent and walks were down to a still somewhat high but more manageable 8.3 percent.

To make room for Nicolas on the active roster, RHP Thomas Hatch was optioned to AAA. Claimed off of waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays, Hatch had a 4.03 ERA in 22.1 innings pitched across 12 games for the Pirates.

Nicolas also required a 40-man roster spot. To open one up, Andrew McCutchen, who is out for the remainder of the season with a tear in his Achillies, was transferred to the 60-day IL.