PITTSBURGH -- Acquiring another of general manager Neal Huntington's favorite commodities -- a right-handed hitter with punch capable of playing a corner in either the infield or the outfield -- the Pirates on Friday landed Russ Canzler from the Orioles in exchange for right-hander Tim Alderson.
The Pirates immediately optioned Canzler to Triple-A Indianapolis, but also tipped off their eventual plans by clearing space for him on the 40-man roster by transferring pitcher James McDonald to the 60-day disabled list.
In Canzler, a 27-year-old Pennsylvania native who has spent 29 games of his decade in pro ball in the Majors, the Bucs may have acquired this year's Drew Sutton or perhaps someone with more staying power.
Sutton spent a couple of months with the Pirates last season as a right-handed complement to Garrett Jones. Jerry Sands, another player who fits the same profile, was included in the foursome acquired from Boston in the offseason deal of Joel Hanrahan.
The Pirates obviously will be evaluating Canzler as a bench option over Brandon Inge on the other side of the All-Star break.
"He's a right-handed-hitting corner option. He can play multiple positions," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Canzler, who had 11 homers and 49 RBIs in 86 games with Norfolk, the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate. "He's a guy who's had some success with the bat. He's comfortable at first base, but we'll try him in right field and third base, too. We'll see how versatile we can get him and see how the bat plays."
Canzler, from Hazleton -- about 200 miles east of Pittsburgh -- has handled himself well in two brief big league stints, in 2011 with Tampa Bay and last season with Cleveland. In 96 at-bats, he hit .269 with three homers and 12 RBIs.
Alderson, a 2007 No. 1 Draft pick by the Giants, had a 2.43 ERA in 29 relief appearances between Double-A Altoona and Indianapolis.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less