PITTSBURGH -- Twelve years after the Pirates traded him away, Aramis Ramirez is coming back to Pittsburgh.
The Bucs acquired Ramirez and cash considerations from the Brewers on Thursday in exchange for Minor League right-hander Yhonathan Barrios, providing a much-needed upgrade for the injury-ravaged left side of their infield.
"We felt like he was a good addition to our club, to come in and stabilize third base for a while," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "He obviously has a great career track record and has swung the bat and been a very effective Major League hitter for his career."
Ramirez, 37, was hitting .247/.295/.430 with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs for the Brewers. After a slow start, Ramirez has hit .352 with two homers in July.
The Pirates will make a corresponding move on their active roster after Ramirez joins the team. That likely won't occur until Saturday. To clear a spot on their 40-man roster, the Pirates designated utility man Steve Lombardozzi for assignment.
Ramirez will fill a major hole in the Pirates' infield. Utility man Josh Harrison (torn ligament in left thumb) and shortstop Jordy Mercer (left knee sprain) could be sidelined until early September.
"The injuries to Jordy and Josh helped clarify some things for most everyone," Huntington said. "With the two injuries, it became a little bit easier to make the club better, at least on paper."
With rookie Jung Ho Kang able to play third base and shortstop, the Pirates felt they could absorb the loss of one infielder. When Mercer went down, they were forced into action.
Now, with Ramirez at third base, the Pirates can keep Kang at shortstop to solidify their infield until Harrison and Mercer return.
"The problem is we have a lot of baseball games to be played between now and when the first one's supposed to be back," Huntington said. "We wanted to continue to put this team in a position to compete for the playoffs and compete for a World Series championship. If and when we have too many good players, that'll be a great thing for us."
Barrios, 23, was not ranked by MLBPipeline.com as one of the Pirates' top 30 prospects. The right-handed reliever went 1-3 with a 2.68 ERA and 11 saves over 33 appearances for Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis this season.
The Pirates signed Ramirez as an amateur free agent in 1994. He made his big league debut for Pittsburgh in 1998, at the age of 19, and spent parts of six seasons with the Bucs.
On July 22, 2003, the Pirates traded Ramirez and Kenny Lofton to the Cubs for Matt Bruback, Jose Hernandez and Bobby Hill.
Twelve years and one day later, Ramirez is heading back to Pittsburgh.
"It's just good to be in the pennant race," said Ramirez, who plans to retire after this season. "That's the team that gave me the opportunity to be whatever I am today. Signed me as a 16-year-old Dominican kid. So it's good to go back."
Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on
Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.