Pirates acquire lefty LeBlanc from Mariners

Southpaw reliever Phillips called up as Bucs address bullpen depth

Pirates acquire lefty LeBlanc from Mariners

PHILADELPHIA -- In need of bullpen depth down the stretch, the Pirates added a pair of lefty relievers to their roster before Tuesday's game against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

The Bucs acquired left-hander Wade LeBlanc from the Mariners for cash considerations or a player to be named. They also selected the contract of recently acquired lefty Zach Phillips, adding him to their 40-man and active rosters. Both pitchers were available out of Pittsburgh's bullpen Tuesday night.

To make room for Phillips, the Pirates placed catching prospect Elias Diaz (cellulitis in left leg) on the 60-day disabled list. LeBlanc effectively takes the roster spot of Gerrit Cole, who was shut down for the season due to elbow inflammation.

"Unfortunately, [manager] Clint [Hurdle] has been put in a situation of having to use our bullpen when he needs to and not when he wants to," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We're working though how to add some innings."

Aside from right-hander Nick Kingham, rehabbing from 2015 Tommy John surgery, every pitcher on the Pirates' 40-man roster is also on their active roster. That means their bullpen is stuffed with a few young starting pitchers -- including right-handers Tyler Glasnow, Drew Hutchison and Trevor Williams -- who can't take the mound as often as a typical reliever.

LeBlanc strikes out five vs. Sox

With right-handers Neftali Feliz and A.J. Schugel working their way back from injuries, the Pirates have had to lean heavily on right-hander Juan Nicasio and lefty Antonio Bastardo to eat up innings as their rotation has faltered over the last two weeks. With Cole out for the year and several rookies working their way in and out of the rotation, Pittsburgh found itself looking for more arms.

LeBlanc, who was designated for assignment by Seattle on Sept. 4, will help fill that need. He was 3-0 with one save and a 4.50 ERA in 11 appearances (eight starts) for the Mariners this season after being acquired from the Blue Jays on June 22. The 32-year-old was 7-2 with a 1.71 ERA in 14 starts for Toronto's Triple-A Buffalo affiliate.

Phillips, acquired from the Orioles in exchange for Kyle Lobstein on Aug. 31, made two scoreless relief appearances for Triple-A Indianapolis. He spent most of the season with Triple-A Norfolk, where he went 9-3 with a 4.45 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 49 relief appearances, and, including two games with Triple-A Indianapolis, ranking fourth in the league with 51 appearances and ranking first with 12.34 strikeouts per nine innings.

Who pitches when?
Had Cole gotten through Monday's start healthy, he likely would have pitched one half of the Pirates' doubleheader in Cincinnati on Saturday. Ryan Vogelsong is slated to start the series opener on Friday, and Ivan Nova will pitch Sunday.

Rookie Jameson Taillon will be reinserted into the rotation to pitch one game Saturday, and it appears either Hutchison or Williams will get the other start, with Glasnow remaining an option in relief.

"We probably prefer Glasnow out of the bullpen at least one more time through, because you just get the call and you go. We'll try it again," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He actually said he kind of enjoyed it, felt good about it, the different mindset."

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