Pittsburgh was interested in Sutton but at the time did not have room for him on the Major League club. In what manager Clint Hurdle called a classy move by general manager Neal Huntington, Sutton was sent to Tampa Bay, which had an opening for him in the big leagues.
Sutton hit .271 with six RBIs in 18 games with the Rays before they put him on waivers on Friday. His career average is .261, with 16 doubles, three home runs and 30 RBIs.
He made a good first impression on his new club on Tuesday, with a pinch-hit RBI double to left field in the seventh inning.
"Sometimes in life good things work out when you do good things," Hurdle said before the game. "We had the opportunity to reacquire him."
After designating Sutton for assignment, the Rays flew him to Dallas so he could spend a couple of days with his pregnant wife, Staci, who is due in October. He hadn't seen her in two months.
"I found out I got designated at 11:30 [a.m. ET] or [noon], and I was on a flight at 2:20 [p.m. ET]," Sutton said. "[The Rays] were really awesome about it."
But then the Pirates called, and on Tuesday he was back in the same place he was on Friday, in the visitor's clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park. He still has to learn the bunt plays and the signs, but he thinks playing with the Bucs will suit him well.
"To go from a winning team in Tampa to a winning team in Pittsburgh, [which is] a couple games out of first place, is a good transition," he said. "Especially, I think, my skills kind of suit the National League pretty well as far as being able to move around and switch-hit. So I think it will be a good fit."
Upon activating Sutton, the Pirates optioned left-handed reliever Doug Slaten.