Today the Pirates designate 1B/OF Michael Morse for assignment and purchased the contract of right-handed reliever AJ Schugel from AAA Indianapolis. The need for Schugel has arisen due to Francisco Liriano being day-to-day with a minor hamstring injury, Ryan Vogelsong having to start tonight, and Kyle Lobstein being unavailable after pitching three innings yesterday.
Michael Morse was hitless in 8 at bats this season, however Morse was an intricate part of the Pirate bench last year. After coming over to the Pirates in a trade with the Dodgers at the trade deadline last year Morse slashed .275/.390/.391/.781 as a Pirate last year, to go with a .351 wOBA and a wRC+ of 126.
AJ Schugel throws a fastball, curveball, and changeup. Last season Schugel’s fastball averaged just 91.9mph, but he did show a nice changeup as he held opposing batters to just a .214 average off of his cahngeup.
Schugel made his Major League debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks last season, and pitched just 9 innings. In those 9 innings Schugel was abysmal allowing 17 hits, 2 home runs, he walked 5, and struck out just 5. This led to an ERA of 5.00 and a FIP of 6.58 for Schugel.
Before people freak out and complain, I do not expect to see much of Schugel on the mound for the Bucs. The only way I’d expect Schugel to pitch in a game is if the Pirates are being beaten soundly, or if a game goes multiple extra innings and the Pirates run out of relievers. I also do not expect Schugel to be on the roster long, which I discuss below.
Moving forward, I would expect AJ Schugel to be optioned back to AAA once Francisco Liriano returns to the mound which should be in the next few days. When Schugel is optioned to AAA, I would expect 1B/3B Jason Rogers to be called up from AAA. Then, I would expect Rogers to return to AAA when Jung-Ho Kang is healthy and returns from the disabled list.