The Pittsburgh Pirates were busy making roster moves on Saturday afternoon so they could add their best hitter at Indianapolis back to the roster. Anthony Alford, who had a disastrous April with the Pirates, was added to the active roster. To make room on the 26-man roster, Phillip Evans was optioned to Indianapolis. To make room on the 40-man roster, Erik Gonzalez was activated from his rehab stint and designated for assignment.
Alford capped off a strong run at Indianapolis with two homers and two singles yesterday. He hit .307/.420/.593 in 56 games in Triple-A, after putting up a .325 OPS in 11 early season games with the Pirates. This season was his fifth in the majors, but he is yet to get a single extended look, compiling just 117 plate appearances during that time. Strikeouts are still a major concern, with a 34.5% rate in the minors this year, after a 55.1% rate for the Pirates, so we will see if he can translate the hard contact to the majors.
Evans has struggled since the first week of the season, though he spent some of that time on the injured list. In 72 games this year, he’s hitting .208/.314/.304 in 239 plate appearances.
Gonzalez hit .232/.258/.300 in 71 games for the Pirates and he batted .154 in five games during his rehab stint in Indianapolis.
The Pirates also announced that Dustin Fowler has been released and TJ Rivera has been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Both were in Indianapolis, though Fowler was injured for most of the time and just finished a rehab stint in the FCL. No word on the Fowler return, but my guess would be it’s future considerations that we never hear about, a move made just to give Rivera a better opportunity. In 57 games with Indianapolis, he hit .249/.295/.389, while playing all four infield spots.