How will the Pirates fill the rotation spot vacated by an injured Quinn Priester?

The Pirates are once again scrambling to fill a hole in the rotation. This time, it is Quinn Priester, who just landed on the 15-day injured list. Let's take a look at a few options the Pirates could try to replace Priester.
Pittsburgh Pirates v Detroit Tigers - Game One
Pittsburgh Pirates v Detroit Tigers - Game One / Mark Cunningham/GettyImages

The Pittsburgh Pirates are now down three starting pitchers after Quinn Priester was placed on the 15-day injured list with a right lat injury. Priester was put into the Pirates starting rotation after Martín Pérez was put onto the injured list with a groin injury. This is all after the Pirates lost Marco Gonzales to an elbow injury. This leaves the Pirates with a big hole in the starting rotation, and after Eric Lauer elected free agency, there are not many options to go with.

There were multiple candidates to be called up to make the start in place of Priester on Saturday, but both pitched on Thursday night. Those pitchers are Braxton Ashcraft and Domingo German. The only option left for the Pirates to entertain is a bullpen game, but there are not many options down on the farm to add who can throw multiple, efficient innings.

The Pirates recently added Justin Bruihl to the active roster, and he made his first appearance against the Dodgers on Thursday. He had a scoreless outing, but did not throw a full inning. He will help, as he is a fresh arm, but he is not the only addition the Pirates will make in order to replace Priester.

Daulton Jefferies is likely to be recalled to the Pirates to fill Quinn Priester's roster spot

Before Saturday's game against the Twins, the Pirates are likely to recall Daulton Jefferies. He was recently on the Pirates as the 27th man for the doubleheader against the Tigers, but did not get into either game. He has started games this season, but due to his poor outings, he has not gone longer than five innings.

This season in Triple-A, Jefferies has a 2-1 record with a 5.40 earned run average in 33.1 innings pitched and has struck out 27 batters. Opponents are batting .286 against him and he has a WHIP of 1.53.

Jefferies is the likely candidate, but the Pirates could also start another guy from the big league bullpen that was formerly a starter. Luis Ortiz used to be a starter, but this season was put in the bullpen, and he has been very successful in that role. He has not started a game since 2023, but with how impressive he has been in a long relief role, the Pirates could attempt to transition him back to a starter in the time without Priester.

If the Pirates do not make any roster moves, Ortiz will likely see the bulk of the innings. The newly signed Bruihl may start as an opener, which he has done in the past, so Ortiz can continue in his relief role routine.

The Pirates have multiple options in their quest to supplement Quinn Priester. Ultimately, Ortiz will likely be relied on to continue his great season with a long outing against the Twins.