Pirates option Lincoln to Triple-A, recall Leroux

Pirates option Lincoln to Triple-A, recall Leroux

Pirates option Lincoln to Triple-A, recall Leroux
WASHINGTON -- There was nothing more Brad Lincoln could do Saturday in his first Major League start of the season for the Pirates at Nationals Park. Right-hander Chris Leroux already knew he would get the call to Pittsburgh after Lincoln's start.

The Pirates optioned Lincoln to Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday, when they recalled Leroux from the same place to take Lincoln's spot on the roster and add much-needed depth to the bullpen.

"[Lincoln] did nothing to disappoint. He obviously made a very good impression," manager Clint Hurdle said after Lincoln threw six innings of two-run ball. "I don't have a starter I'd put him in front of right now, but as we move into the second half we might look at how we shuffle things. What I saw coming out of his hand last night was crisp, clean and firm. I would like to think we haven't seen the last of Brad Lincoln."

But Pittsburgh had an immediate need for an extra arm in the bullpen, and Leroux filled that.

Lincoln said after his Saturday start that he would like to stick around as a starter or reliever, and Hurdle said the club would discuss the potential for that in a Tuesday meeting with members of the front office, but Lincoln is out of commission for the next three days.

Leroux is stretched out and pitched as many as four innings in relief in the minors, where he spent time in both Indianapolis and Double-A Altoona.

Leroux has 28 Major League appearances under his belt -- six with the Pirates last season and 22 with Florida -- but he credits his recent success to a switch that took him back to his days at Winthrop University.

He struggled when he started the season at Indianapolis and went to Altoona at the end of April. Working with pitching coach Wally Whitehurst, he altered the slider he threw throughout his professional career to more of a slurve, like he threw in college.

"It was my breaking ball that was problem," Leroux said. "I couldn't throw it for strikes, it wasn't tight, it didn't bite very much. Now that I'm throwing my old breaking ball ... I've been a lot more successful."

Steven Miller is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.