Nicasio to restricted list as Bucs shuffle roster

Luebke designated for assignment; Scahill optioned to Triple-A

Nicasio to restricted list as Bucs shuffle roster

CHICAGO -- The Pirates made a series of moves Saturday afternoon, reshaping the front end of their bullpen and rebalancing their roster with three callups from Triple-A Indianapolis.

The Pirates' most notable move among the flurry of transactions was placing right-hander Juan Nicasio on the restricted list. Manager Clint Hurdle said "a personal, family reason" will keep Nicasio out indefinitely.

Nicasio, who was scheduled to start Tuesday, left the team and went home. Players are typically placed on the restricted list after violating the league's domestic violence or banned substance policies, or for an extended personal absence reaching beyond the three-to-seven-day bereavement list. Hurdle noted Nicasio's assignment is not punitive.

"This was a personal reason he needs to get back home. We want to work with him," Hurdle said. "To my understanding, it is somewhat open-ended. We've encouraged him to go, contact us sometime next week, let us know the state of affairs and we'll go from there."

With Nicasio away from the team, the Pirates are without a starter for Tuesday's game against the Giants at PNC Park. The leading candidate to make that start appears to be right-hander Wilfredo Boscan, who is lined up to start Tuesday for Indianapolis.

Signed to a one-year, $3 million deal in December, Nicasio has struggled since earning a spot in the rotation this spring. The 29-year-old righty is 5-5 with a 5.05 ERA in 12 starts.

Continuing their search for reliable arms in an inconsistent bullpen, the Pirates designated left-hander Cory Luebke for assignment, optioned right-hander Rob Scahill to Triple-A and replaced them by recalling right-hander Curtis Partch and selecting the contract of right-hander Jorge Rondon.

This is Partch's second stint and Rondon's first with the Pirates. Partch was called up and optioned back down last week without appearing in a game. Rondon put together a 1.91 ERA in 33 innings over 24 Triple-A appearances.

"One of the challenging areas we've had in the bullpen is the underbelly, when we're tied or underneath, staying close," Hurdle said. "We've taken a look at other candidates with Scahill and Luebke. Now we want to look at Rondon. We want to look at Partch as well."

Luebke struggled in his return to the Majors this season after injuries sidelined him for three years. The left-hander made the club out of Spring Training but posted a 9.35 ERA while allowing 15 hits and 11 walks in 8 2/3 innings over nine appearances.

"It just hasn't translated with the consistency that he was able to get in Triple-A," Hurdle said.

After carrying a four-man bench for a week, the Pirates recalled infielder Jason Rogers from Triple-A to balance out their roster. Rogers, Rondon and Partch joined the Pirates at Wrigley Field prior to Saturday night's game against the Cubs.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.