SAN DIEGO -- After burning starters and relievers alike in Sunday's 19-inning win, the Pirates desperately needed some fresh arms in their bullpen. As a result, Pittsburgh recalled righty Kyle McPherson and lefty Justin Wilson from Triple-A Indianapolis for Monday's opener with the Padres.
The Indians were in Syracuse playing the Blue Jays' Triple-A affiliate the Chiefs when word spread that the big league club was locked in that draining battle, which had many of the Indians' young arms thinking maybe a call was coming.
"Everybody was champing at the bit, spreading word, you know -- 19 innings, who's available, who's down today, who's up tomorrow?" McPherson said. "It's one of those things you think about, but you can't really worry about. It's out of your hands."
Despite highly decorated Minor League tenures, neither hurler has pitched in the big leagues. The 24-year-old McPherson was the Pirates' Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season, and the 25-year-old Wilson is currently leading the International League with 130 strikeouts.
Wilson, a California native, was particularly excited to get the call, as he'll have family in the stands at Petco Park if he makes his Major League debut.
"My parents were actually in Syracuse with us. ... So they flew back here this morning. Wife, sister are all coming," Wilson said. "I'm extremely excited."
In order to make room on the 25-man roster, the Pirates made two moves Monday. One of them was easy: infielder Jordy Mercer was placed on the paternity list to be with his wife, Kasey, after the birth of his son, Maverick Lee Mercer, in Oklahoma.
The other move was more difficult: the Pirates designated righty Juan Cruz for assignment. Cruz, 35, had a 2.78 ERA in 43 appearances this season, but was walking 4.8 batters per nine innings with a 1.63 WHIP.
"He showed up for us in the first two months of the season and pitched as well as anyone on our club," Hurdle said of Cruz, who's pitched in 447 games with seven teams since his debut in 2001. "We appreciate the effort, he's been very professional the whole time he's been here. This is just a baseball decision at the end of the day."