The Pittsburgh Pirates optioned pitcher Cody Ponce to Indianapolis on Wednesday afternoon ahead of tonight’s game against the Chicago Cubs. They recalled right-handed pitcher Nick Mears to take his place on the roster. Ponce started last night and allowed four runs on nine hits in five innings.
Mears debuted in the majors last year with almost no upper level experience in the minors. That has barely changed, but it appears that they are going with an extra arm in the bullpen until the next time that spot comes up in the rotation. It’s possible that Chad Kuhl, who made his second rehab start yesterday, returns to the majors for his next start. Mears has pitched just 13.2 innings over High-A ball, including his time with the Pirates last year, when he allowed three runs over five innings in his four appearances. He had a rough debut with Indianapolis this year, then allowed one run over 3.1 innings in three appearances since then. The 24-year-old Mears was signed as a non-drafted free agent in August of 2018 and he has pitched just 68 innings total in pro ball, including his time in the Arizona Fall League.