ATLANTA -- The Pirates are now down to three starting pitchers.
Montana DuRapau was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and is available to pitch in relief Monday night as the Pirates open a four-game series with the Braves at SunTrust Park.
The Pirates are already undecided on a starter for Wednesday night’s game and now will need to find another starter for Thursday afternoon’s series finale. Their only healthy starters are Chris Archer, Steven Brault and Joe Musgrove.
Top prospect Mitch Keller seems like a shoo-in to be recalled from Indianapolis to pitch Wednesday as he would be on his regular four days of rest. However, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will pitch Thursday.
It will be interesting to see if the Pirates promote Dario Agrazal or Luis Escobar from Indy as both right-handers are pitching well. Agrazal is 4-2 with 3.10 ERA in eight starts and Escobar is 1-0 with a 2.33 ERA in six games, including four starts.
One thing the Pirates won’t do is use an opener in either game, according to Clint Hurdle. They employed that strategy in three games last month and the openers allowed a combined eight runs in three innings.
Lyles is expected to miss only one start.
“We need to be smart with this,” Hurdle said. “We need to get him to the other side of this, work on the return-to-pitch program, get him with the trainers and work on strengthening the hamstring.”
Lyles left his start May 28 against the Reds at Cincinnati when he felt tightness in the hamstring. He made two more starts after that, both against the Brewers, and allowed seven runs in nine innings. On Saturday at Milwaukee he needed 92 pitches to get through three innings.
Lyles began the season with a 5-1 record and 2.70 ERA in 10 games prior to his outing in Cincinnati.
“I just tried to battle through it, but I wasn’t very efficient during the outing,” Lyles said. “I wouldn’t say the injury is minor, but we want to make sure it doesn’t turn into anything major. Sometimes you’ve got to be smart and take a little breather, heal it up and get to where I was previously.”
Lyles was scheduled to pitch Thursday and it was going to mark a bit of homecoming as he grew up in Hartsville, S.C., approximately 300 miles from Atlanta. I asked him about the disappointing of not pitching against the Braves.
“There are a lot of people whose plans have changed today,” Lyles said. “I always enjoy coming to Atlanta and seeing people from back home. I was really looking forward to it.”
DuRapau is in his second stint with the Pirates. He was 0-1 with a 7.27 ERA in the first eight major-league relief appearances of his career.
At Indianapolis, DuRupau was 1-1 with three saves and a 1.47 ERA in 15 games.
I can’t help but wonder how much longer the Pirates can survive the slew of injuries that have plagued them all season. Major cracks have started showing in June as they are just 2-6 this month.
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