Nats, Bucs strike deal for prospect Bostick

Infielder will go to Pittsburgh in exchange for Gushue, cash

Nats, Bucs strike deal for prospect Bostick

The Nationals and Pirates have agreed on a deal that will send infielder Chris Bostick to Pittsburgh in exchange for catcher Taylor Gushue and cash considerations.

Bostick, 23, hit a combined .250 with eight home runs and 51 RBIs in 135 games at Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse in 2016.

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Oliver Macklin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs' WC chances take hit in loss to Nats

Bucs' WC chances take hit in loss to Nats

PITTSBURGH -- There was a lot of pushing and shoving behind home plate in the third inning of the Nationals and Pirates' series finale Sunday afternoon at PNC Park. Plenty of give-and-take on the scoreboard, too. The Pirates pushed, but the Nats pushed back with a five-run eighth inning, pulling out a 10-7 win in the back-and-forth, four-hour affair.

The Pirates and Nats combined to use 17 pitchers, one shy of the Major League record for a nine-inning game. In total, 45 different players took the field, tying the NL record and falling one short of matching the Major League high for a nine-inning game.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates, Hurdle mourn loss of 'wonderful' Fernandez

Skipper remembers Marlins' ace for enthusiasm, emotion and skill

Pirates, Hurdle mourn loss of 'wonderful' Fernandez

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates joined the rest of the baseball world Sunday in mourning the tragic loss of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, one of the game's brightest young stars and most infectiously energetic personalities.

Fernandez died early Sunday in a boating accident in Miami Beach. He was 24.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Tempers flare in Pittsburgh after deke, near-HBP

Nats starter Cole's ejection prompts benches-clearing fracas

Tempers flare in Pittsburgh after deke, near-HBP

PITTSBURGH -- The Nationals believed it was unnecessary and wrong. The Pirates thought it was typical and crafty. Their disagreement over Jung Ho Kang's fake tag on Bryce Harper ended with both dugouts and bullpens emptying onto the field, sparking a benches-clearing incident in the third inning of Washington's 10-7 win Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.

Tempers began to boil in the top of the third, when Bryce Harper laced a line drive to right field. He stretched the hit into a triple, hustling to third base even as right fielder Josh Bell's throw sailed wide of Kang. But Kang faked a tag, leading Harper to make an awkward slide into the bag.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hanging onto slim WC hope, Bucs tab Kuhl vs. Cubs

Hanging onto slim WC hope, Bucs tab Kuhl vs. Cubs

With home-field advantage locked up through the National League Championship Series, the Cubs will begin the final week of their regular season -- and their last week of postseason preparation -- Monday night at PNC Park against the Pirates one win shy of 100 after defeating the Cardinals in their Wrigley Field finale on Sunday.

The Cubs and Bucs will play four games, wrapping up Pittsburgh's home schedule for the year. Right-hander Kyle Hendricks will start the opener for the Cubs, looking to lower his Major League-leading 2.06 ERA and solidify his NL Cy Young Award candidacy. Hendricks has allowed three or fewer earned runs in 21 straight starts, the longest streak in the Majors.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

As Nats clinch, young Bucs gain key experience

As Nats clinch, young Bucs gain key experience

PITTSBURGH -- The last three years, the Pirates reported to work on Sept. 24 with a spot in the postseason secured. They clinched on Sept. 23, 2013, did so again on Sept. 23, 2014, and once more on Sept. 23, 2015.

This year, the Pirates showed up on Sept. 24 and watched another team clinch a division title. The Bucs lost to the Nationals, 6-1, at PNC Park on Saturday night, and a few minutes later the Nats began celebrating their third National League East title in the last five years.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sloppy play hurts as Pirates fall back to .500

Sloppy play hurts as Pirates fall back to .500

PITTSBURGH -- What felt inevitable all spring and summer became official Saturday night. For the third time in five years, the Nationals are National League East champions.

The Nats beat the Pirates, 6-1, then waited 23 minutes until the Mets' 10-8 loss to the Phillies in New York, which officially clinched the division title and punched Washington's postseason ticket. Then the celebration was on.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Glasnow hopes to take 'pen lessons into rotation

Pirates liked top prospect's mentality in relief, and now he'll be back to starting Sunday

Glasnow hopes to take 'pen lessons into rotation

PITTSBURGH -- Tyler Glasnow did his time in the bullpen. Now he's moving back into the Pirates' rotation.

The Pirates' top prospect will start Sunday's series finale against the Nationals at PNC Park, replacing left-hander Steven Brault, in his first big league start since July 23. Pittsburgh hopes that Glasnow's brief stint as a reliever will serve him well as he returns to a starting role. Brault moved out of the rotation and into the Bucs' bullpen on Saturday.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Tracy Ringolsby

Q&A: Howe reflects on his 7 trips to the postseason

Q&A: Howe reflects on his 7 trips to the postseason

Art Howe came out of the University of Wyoming figuring his dreams of becoming a professional athlete weren't going to come true. He returned home to Pittsburgh, went to work and played baseball in weekend leagues for the fun of it.

Then, at the age of 24, a Pirates scout saw enough of Howe to offer him a contract, and his dream came true.

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Tracy Ringolsby is a national columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates solve Melancon, walk off in 11 on Stallings' hit

Pirates solve Melancon, walk off in 11 on Stallings' hit

PITTSBURGH -- With the champagne chilling and their clubhouse prepared for a celebration, the Nationals couldn't seal the deal Friday night at PNC Park. About an hour after the Mets put the Nats' division-clinching party on hold in New York, the Pirates kept Washington from officially punching its ticket to the postseason. The Bucs cracked Mark Melancon, their former closer, then little-used September callup Jacob Stallings slapped a pinch-hit, walk-off single to left field in the 11th inning to cap a 6-5 comeback win over the Nats.

Stallings was the last man on the Pirates' bench, the 25th different Pittsburgh player used in the four-hour, 36-minute marathon. He had done the math earlier in the 11th inning, coming to the conclusion that the only way he'd hit -- the only way he'd see a big league field for the first time since June 21 -- was with the bases loaded and two outs. That situation presented itself against Yusmeiro Petit, and Stallings delivered his second Major League hit over Anthony Rendon's head.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Polanco runs into wall, bruises face

Hurdle unsure if Bucs outfielder will play Saturday

Polanco runs into wall, bruises face

PITTSBURGH -- Gregory Polanco left the Pirates' 6-5, 11-inning win over the Nationals in the first inning on Friday night with a left facial contusion after slamming face-first into the left-field wall, the team announced.

Trying to track down Bryce Harper's shot to left field, Polanco leaped to make the catch and bounced off the wall as the ball hopped away. The outfielder's face appeared to take the brunt of the blow, and he was slow to get up after falling to the warning track.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nova likes idea of re-signing with Pirates

Free agent to be has thrived since trade from Yankees

Nova likes idea of re-signing with Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates would love to have Ivan Nova in their rotation next season. Nova made it clear Friday he would love to stay in Pittsburgh. Looking to find a middle ground so both sides can get what they want, the Pirates have reportedly opened contract talks with Nova's camp.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on Thursday that the Pirates have made two extension offers to Nova, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. Greg Genske, Nova's agent, confirmed the report to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Friday, telling the newspaper that "while there is mutual interest ... no agreement is imminent."

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Coke joins Bucs as Schugel shut down

Coke joins Bucs as Schugel shut down

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates shut down reliever A.J. Schugel on Friday, sending him to the 60-day disabled list with a right shoulder injury. The transaction made room on the roster for left-hander Phil Coke, who joined the club Friday after being traded by the Yankees a day earlier.

Coke will pitch out of the bullpen, capable of being a long reliever or lefty specialist. The Bucs have leaned heavily on their relievers this month, wearing down a group already thinned out by injuries (Schugel and Neftali Feliz) and a number of Triple-A starters not used to pitching on consecutive days.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blown save aside, Melancon has warm Pittsburgh return

Closer appreciates ovation as he tries to help Nats the way he aided Bucs

Blown save aside, Melancon has warm Pittsburgh return

PITTSBURGH -- Mark Melancon admitted it was a little strange to be sitting in the visitors' dugout at PNC Park, wearing his red Nationals hoodie, for the first time since he was traded from the Pirates in July.

That weirdness carried over to when he took the mound in the ninth, when although they did not play his usual walkup song, "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC, he was greeted with a tribute on the video board and a standing ovation from the 29,513 fans in attendance. The Pirates' offense didn't treat him as nicely, rallying to hand Melancon his first blown save as a member of the Nationals during a 6-5 Pittsburgh win in 11 innings.

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Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates lose ground in WC, drop finale to Crew

Pirates lose ground in WC, drop finale to Crew

MILWAUKEE -- For the second straight series, the Pirates were denied a needed sweep. This time, an injury dealt their faint postseason hopes an additional blow.

Scooter Gennett and Chris Carter homered for the Brewers, Chase Anderson pitched effectively into the sixth and Milwaukee played spoiler, denying Pittsburgh a three-game sweep with a 3-1 win Thursday at Miller Park. Besides the loss, the Pirates saw outfielder Starling Marte's return to the lineup from a back ailment last all of two full innings before his early exit.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Marte exits during return with back tightness

Marte exits during return with back tightness

MILWAUKEE -- Making his first start since Sept. 5, Pirates outfielder Starling Marte exited Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Brewers with back tightness in the third inning.

Marte missed 15 consecutive games with back spasms before making his return to the lineup on Thursday, batting second. After fouling off a pitch from starter Chase Anderson, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle and head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk visited with Marte outside the batter's box before he left the game.

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Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cervelli gets silent treatment, decides to go bowling

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Cervelli gets silent treatment, decides to go bowling

With less than two weeks left in the season, Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli reached a significant milestone: He hit his first home run of the season, a solo shot to right field during Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Brewers. And, much like with anyone's first home run of the year, there was much rejoicing.

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Pirates trending upward in late chase for WC

McCutchen, Rodriguez homer in win over Brewers

Pirates trending upward in late chase for WC

MILWAUKEE -- Andrew McCutchen's first-inning homer on Wednesday was headed in the wrong direction -- to the wrong side of the left-field foul pole -- until, at the opportune time of its descent, it never turned foul.

McCutchen's homer got the Pirates going in the right direction, sparking a much-needed 4-1 win over the Brewers at Miller Park. With the ball's late change of path that put it back on the right track, could it also be a metaphor for an improbable late-season surge into the postseason by the Pirates, winners of six of their last seven?

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Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

S-Rod paces Bucs at plate in win over Crew

S-Rod paces Bucs at plate in win over Crew

MILWAUKEE -- Sean Rodriguez and the Pirates picked a good day to stay hot in the National League Wild Card race.

While the Cardinals, Mets and Marlins all lost, and the Giants fell into a deep early hole against the Dodgers, the Pirates scored another wire-to-wire win over the Brewers in Milwaukee, where Rodriguez's two-run single capped a three-run first inning, and his solo homer in the fourth added insurance on the way to a 4-1 victory.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cutch sparks offense as Bucs keep chase

Cutch sparks offense as Bucs keep chase

MILWAUKEE -- The Pirates aren't sunk just yet. A 6-3 win over the Brewers on Tuesday was the Bucs' fifth victory in six games, offering faint hope for Andrew McCutchen & Co. of another berth in the National League Wild Card Game.

McCutchen's two-run double in the first inning propelled the Pirates on a night they never trailed, and Josh Bell and Jordy Mercer also drove in two runs apiece while Clint Hurdle managed like it was October.

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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee and covered the Pirates on Tuesday

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hurdle leans on bullish bullpen for 5 innings

Hughes cleans up jam for Brault with pivotal double play

Hurdle leans on bullish bullpen for 5 innings

MILWAUKEE -- Before Tuesday's game against the Brewers, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said the leash with his starting pitchers would be shorter as his team clings to slim postseason hopes. Hurdle executed that plan hours later, and it led to Pittsburgh's 6-3 win at Miller Park.

With nobody out in the fifth and the power-hitting Chris Carter representing the potential tying run in a 5-2 game, Hurdle pulled starter Steven Brault. Reliever Jared Hughes induced a game-changing double play to lead the charge as five Pirates' relievers combined to throw five scoreless frames to seal the victory.

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Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Pirates sticking with experienced Vogelsong

Hurdle: Veteran RHP has worked to fix 'delivery glitch'

Pirates sticking with experienced Vogelsong

MILWAUKEE -- While clinging to thin postseason chances, the Pirates opted to stay with veteran starter Ryan Vogelsong in the rotation for Thursday's game against the Brewers despite his recent struggles.

The Pirates did not announce the starters for the three-game series at Miller Park, which began Tuesday, until Monday. Vogelsong, who has allowed 20 runs over a span of 17 2/3 innings in his last four starts, will pitch the series finale.

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Curt Hogg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Foul ball forces McCutchen to retreat from on-deck circle

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Foul ball forces McCutchen to retreat from on-deck circle

Keep your eye on the ball. It's the first thing we're taught when playing baseball. If you skipped that lesson on the first day of practice, Denis Leary kindly covered it for you in The Sandlot.

Although that most basic of baseball wisdoms may have resulted in a black eye for Scotty Smalls, it paid off in a big way for Andrew McCutchen in the first inning of Tuesday's Pirates game against the Brewers.

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Bucs still playing for October while building for 2017

Pirates know playoff chances slim, but club will keep battling until officially out

Bucs still playing for October while building for 2017

PITTSBURGH -- Johnny Rodriguez has been reminding his son a lot lately where he was five years ago.

Sean Rodriguez was playing for the Rays, who began the season's final month nine games out of a playoff spot and stormed back to capture the American League Wild Card. That same September, David Freese's Cardinals made a similarly dramatic comeback and rode it all the way to the World Series.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bucs' Rodriguez named NL Co-Player of Week

Bucs' Rodriguez named NL Co-Player of Week

PITTSBURGH -- After homering in both halves of the Pirates' doubleheader sweep in Cincinnati on Saturday, Sean Rodriguez shrugged. Has he ever been on a tear at the plate quite like this?

"I don't know," Rodriguez said. "I would hope so this far into my career."

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Despite hiccup, Nova boasts formidable resume

Despite hiccup, Nova boasts formidable resume

CINCINNATI -- The similarities between last year's J.A. Happ and this year's Ivan Nova can be found in manager Clint Hurdle's mailbox. After the Pirates acquired Happ last July, and again after the Bucs got Nova on Aug. 1, the range of responses typically came back to one question: "Really?"

The tone of the messages quickly turned from doubtful to demanding with Happ, and again with Nova: "You better sign him." The Pirates weren't able to retain Happ, but they hope to re-sign Nova, who had been sensational in the second half before a three-inning clunker in a 7-4 loss to the Reds on Sunday.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bullpen of the Week: 'Pen keeps Bucs afloat

Pirates' Wild Card hopes intact thanks to relievers' efforts

Bullpen of the Week: 'Pen keeps Bucs afloat

After the Pirates were seemingly eliminated from contention for the National League Central division crown by mid-June, and fell below .500 with a swoon in early September, the temptation to write Pittsburgh off for the remainder of 2016 seemed somewhat logical. A season-ending injury to ace Gerrit Cole, along with trades of Francisco Liriano, Ivan Nova and closer Mark Melancon also helped to fuel the fire that the Bucs were finished.

But with just less than two weeks left in the season, a look at the standings shows that the Pirates aren't fully out of it yet -- and their players aren't giving up. Pittsburgh sits five games out of the second NL Wild Card after going 5-3 this past week. But with Cole shelved and Liriano and Nova gone, Pittsburgh has had to find new ways to get quality starting pitching, with mixed results. Bucs starters averaged just 4 1/3 innings per start last week, meaning the bullpen had to take on the majority of the work to lift the Pirates to their winning week.

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Matt Kelly is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @mattkellyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nova's rare rough start thwarts Bucs in finale

Nova's rare rough start thwarts Bucs in finale

CINCINNATI -- In their first two meetings this season, Ivan Nova baffled the Reds. Cincinnati figured him out Sunday afternoon at Great American Ball Park, forcing him out after three innings and cruising to a 7-4 win. Joey Votto had four hits and homered, Scott Schebler tacked on three hits and Tucker Barnhart drove in four runs as the Reds -- who wore green uniforms to celebrate Irish Heritage Day -- avoided a three-day, four-game sweep.

Nova held the Reds to four runs on 12 hits without a walk over his first 16 innings against the Reds, but he couldn't repeat that success Sunday. He allowed five runs (three earned) on nine hits in three innings, his shortest start of the season. It has been a sensational second half for Nova, the Pirates' latest pitching success story who entered the game with a 2.41 ERA over his first eight starts with the Bucs.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry.

Cody Pace is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cincinnati.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Nicasio's strong work out of 'pen draws praise

Marte still bothered by lower back issue; upcoming rotation TBD

Nicasio's strong work out of 'pen draws praise

CINCINNATI -- The Pirates signed Juan Nicasio last offseason knowing he could be either a starter or reliever. This year, they've learned that his future is in their bullpen.

Since moving to the bullpen full time in late June, Nicasio has a 2.81 ERA with 68 strikeouts in 48 innings. He's held opponents to a .232 average and a .657 OPS, and he's struck out at least one batter in a Major League-high 29 straight appearances dating back to July 2.

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Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.