PITTSBURGH -- Michael McKenry's left-knee sprain landed him on the 15-day disabled list Monday, with the Pirates recalling outfielder Alex Presley from Indianapolis.
Presley immediately took McKenry's place in the starting lineup in the PNC Park opener of a five-game series with division-leading St. Louis, playing left field and batting seventh. Presley replaced Starling Marte, whom manager Clint Hurdle had all along planned to rest against Cardinals right-hander Jake Westbrook.
This is a tough blow for McKenry, emotionally as well as physically, forced to sit out the important series.
"I hate it, of course. I want to be a part of it," McKenry said. "But it was the smartest thing for the team, to bring in someone else who can help right away. We're about to play a huge series."
McKenry jammed his knee sliding to break up a double play late in Saturday's game in Miami -- a game in which he sparked a 7-4 victory with the first four-hit game of his career.
He remained in that game, catching the last three innings in considerable pain. Regular catcher Russell Martin, ironically, had taken the night off with his own sore left knee.
"The team needed me, and I needed to stay in there," McKenry said. "It hurt, it really hurt - I'm not gonna lie to you. It could've caused some extra problems, but it doesn't matter. Russ' knee was barking, and I had to take one for the team. Like I told me wife when she asked the same thing, 'I wouldn't take it back for a heartbeat.'"
McKenry tested the knee in a regular pregame workout on Sunday, and as a result the joint was really swollen on Monday. He was examined but had not yet been informed of a diagnosis and will seek a second medical option on Tuesday.
The move returns the Bucs to a two-catcher alignment, with Tony Sanchez having been recalled from the Triple-A Indians on Sunday to back up starter Martin.
Presley is starting his fourth stint of the season with the Pirates, with whom he is hitting .293 in 17 games, including a pair of solo homers. At Indianapolis, the left-handed-hitting outfielder was batting .277 in 76 games, with 16 stolen bases in 21 attempts.
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.