PITTSBURGH -- Two things to note about right-hander Brandon Cumpton:
• In both of his 2014 starts for the Pirates, he did something that has been elusive for the veteran members of the team's rotation: hold the opposition (the Reds, then the Orioles) scoreless through five innings.
• And since returning to Triple-A Indianapolis on May 3, the Pirates' No. 12 prospect has allowed three earned runs in three starts and 21 innings.
Overall, Cumpton's 4-1 record and 1.35 ERA make him one of the worthy candidates on the Triple-A level, while the Pirates' rotation struggles. Casey Sadler (5-1, 2.22 ERA), big league vet Vance Worley (1-1, 2.84 ERA in three starts) and Cumpton are waiting for a call if and when the Bucs decide a change is needed.
"We're well aware of what we've got developing [in Indianapolis] and the options we could have if we need to go there," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, who then made a case for all four of the wobbly starting quartet that collectively has a 1-16 record.
"[Francisco] Liriano ... I'm here to tell you we're not going to move him," Hurdle said. "As long as he's healthy, we'll keep feeding him the ball and hope he finds his way back. Wandy [Rodriguez] ... he's got to have an opportunity to pitch and show us what he can do.
"[Edinson] Volquez ... he's had control issues in the past," Hurdle continued, "and now we're saying, 'He's throwing too many strikes.' He's got to make better misses in the zone. Charlie [Morton] ... the big inning has gotten him, then five or six zeros show up."
The skipper did not need to defend Gerrit Cole, who has four of the entire rotation's five wins.
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.