Glasnow hopes to take 'pen lessons into rotation

Pirates liked top prospect's mentality in relief, and now he'll be back to starting Sunday

Glasnow hopes to take 'pen lessons into rotation

PITTSBURGH -- Tyler Glasnow did his time in the bullpen. Now he's moving back into the Pirates' rotation.

The Pirates' top prospect will start Sunday's series finale against the Nationals at PNC Park, replacing left-hander Steven Brault, in his first big league start since July 23. Pittsburgh hopes that Glasnow's brief stint as a reliever will serve him well as he returns to a starting role. Brault moved out of the rotation and into the Bucs' bullpen on Saturday.

Glasnow, recently named MLBPipeline.com's Pitcher of the Year, made three encouraging appearances out of the bullpen. The 6-foot-8 right-hander allowed two runs on seven hits while walking three and striking out eight over seven innings. In his last outing, he fired three scoreless innings on 55 pitches against the Reds and threw first-pitch strikes to all 13 batters he faced.

Glasnow is top Pipeline pitcher

"They just said it's a good experience to go out there and try it, doing new things," Glasnow said. "They definitely like it in terms of mentality and stuff. I'm just excited to get this start."

Glasnow made his Major League debut on July 7, holding his own in St. Louis as he allowed four runs on three hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings. His next start, a three-inning outing in which he allowed five stolen bases, was almost impossible to evaluate due to the shoulder injury that led to an early exit.

He returned earlier this month as a reliever, filling out the Pirates' crowded bullpen and impressing the Bucs' brass with his performance -- not just his numbers -- in relief.

"He just mixed the pitches. I love the tempo that he's been using on the mound," manager Clint Hurdle said. "He seems to be -- at least from the short looks that we've had here -- in a good place. ... As far as the execution of pitches, the last couple times out of the 'pen has been as good as we've seen him."

This has been an unusual season for the 23-year-old right-hander. Glasnow dominated for Triple-A Indianapolis, posting a 1.87 ERA with 133 strikeouts in 110 2/3 innings in 20 starts. Despite those impressive numbers, he called it "probably one of my down years."

"A lot of this stuff right now is more learning experiences than anything," Glasnow said. "I'm definitely going out there trying to do as well as I possibly can every time."

Trainer's room
• Outfielders Gregory Polanco (facial contusion) and Starling Marte (lower back tightness) did not start Saturday night. Matt Joyce got the nod in left, with Josh Bell manning right field. Shortstop Jordy Mercer (right forearm discomfort) was also out of the lineup, with Sean Rodriguez starting in his place.

• Reliever A.J. Schugel, placed on the 60-day disabled list Friday, hoped to learn more about his injured right shoulder Saturday after meeting with doctors.

"I thought it was getting better, getting better. Started picking up the pace a little bit, and that's when it started going the other way," Schugel said. "Trying to figure out what's going on in there, and we'll go from there."

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.