ST. LOUIS -- Left-hander J.A. Happ, whose turn in the current spin of the rotation was bypassed due to off-days on Thursday and Monday, will get another shot when the club moves on to New York this weekend.
The Bucs, however, may soon have an alternative for the back of the rotation if Happ does not show signs of being able to pitch himself out of his extended rut. Veteran righty Vance Worley, designated for assignment on July 30, has accepted being outrighted to Triple-A Indianapolis and will begin working toward a return to the club.
Happ gave up eight hits and four runs to the Cubs in 4 1/3 innings in his Pirates debut, on Aug. 4. His struggles, however, date far back into his tenure with the Mariners, who dealt him to Pittsburgh for Minor League righty Adrian Sampson on July 31. Happ has one win, and a 5.54 ERA, in his last 15 starts overall.
Worley will need some time to be game-ready, certainly start-ready. He last pitched on July 24, a one-inning relief appearance. He was 4-5 with a 3.78 ERA in 20 games -- including eight starts -- prior to being dropped from the roster.
Worley made way for Joe Blanton, another veteran righty viewed as a better fit for the bullpen. Ironically, that move was made hours before A.J. Burnett was put on the disabled list with inflammation in his elbow.
Happ will start Friday night's series opener against the Mets at Citi Field and be followed by Charlie Morton and Jeff Locke.
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 and on his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.