Notes: Pirates shuffle with their roster
Kuwata designated for assignment; Doumit lands on DL
PITTSBURGH -- The feel-good story of Masumi Kuwata may be approaching a not-so-happy ending for the 39-year-old Japanese pitcher.
As part of a slew of roster moves to compensate for Ryan Doumit landing on the disabled list on Tuesday, the Pirates needed to open up two spots on their 40-man roster.
Consequently, Kuwata was designated for assignment, leaving him with a tough decision: accept an invitation to rejoin the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians, assuming that he passes through waivers unclaimed, or announce his retirement.
"I don't know yet," Kuwata said of the possibility of retirement. "My family is here, so I talked to my wife and my kids, and I want to think about the future."
It is unlikely that Kuwata would rejoin the Pirates even when the roster expands in September, meaning that a decision to report to Indianapolis would still likely mean that his time in the Majors has possibly ended.
"I was very happy to be able to pitch in the Major Leagues already," said Kuwata, who made his debut on June 10. "Also, I had a great experience in the states and in the Major Leagues. But obviously, I don't know about the future."
By his own doing, Kuwata's big league future was put in jeopardy, beginning with a July 2 outing in which he allowed a seven-run inning to the Brewers. From that outing forward, Kuwata has allowed 19 runs in 10 1/3 innings.
"You do get to a point in time that at 39 years of age, there are some things that you would like to be doing that you're physically not capable of doing at this point in time," manager Jim Tracy said. "He did some things early on for us that helped us win a couple of ballgames."
Fortunately for Kuwata, he will have his family by his side during his decision process, as his wife and two sons arrived from Japan on Monday to spend a week with him. And while Kuwata's outing on Monday was less than desirable, he was grateful that his family got to watch him take the mound in the Major Leagues in what was likely his last big league appearance.
"I was thinking when I was pitching in PNC Park and they were watching last night, and I was pitching [terribly]," said Kuwata, who gave up five runs in his one inning of work. "But for them to see my pitching at PNC Park [made me] very happy."
Doumit disabled: What was suspected after Doumit exited the first game of Monday's doubleheader against the Giants after he jammed his wrist was confirmed on Tuesday: Doumit is headed to the DL.
"This is a guy that in the last year and a half has grown immensely," Tracy said. "From a resource standpoint, it's a big, big piece, and it's very difficult to replace this guy."
After being evaluated by hand specialist Dr. Mark Baratz on Tuesday, Doumit was diagnosed with a left wrist sprain/contusion. Doumit will be wearing a splint for at least a week until the swelling goes down. He will then be re-evaluated by Dr. Baratz next week.
Doumit sustained the injury trying to make a diving catch in right field in the third inning on Monday, and though he stayed in to take another at-bat, the situation with his hand worsened and he left in the sixth. Losing Doumit not only cost the Pirates a more-than-capable right fielder in Xavier Nady's absence and a solid backup catcher, but it also weakens the left-handed side of the Pirates' lineup, which is their strength.
Moving on up: With Doumit on the DL, the Pirates needed to increase their outfield depth, as well as add another backup catcher. Consequently, the contracts of both Matt Kata and Carlos Maldonado were purchased from Indianapolis.
The move to bring up an extra outfielder was likely to happen soon, even with Nady still sidelined by a hamstring pull and the Pirates looking to slim down their 13-man pitching staff to 12.
Kata, who can also play a number of infield positions, will be that extra outfielder. Jose Castillo can also fill in, if necessary, in the outfield.
Having Maldonado on the bench will allow Tracy to use his other backup catcher, Josh Phelps, in pinch-hit situations earlier in games without having to worry about burning his only other true catcher. And Phelps, who made his first start behind the plate since 2001 on Monday, will likely make a few more in order to spot starting catcher Ronny Paulino periodic days of rest.
Duke moves lists: In addition to Kuwata's spot, the Pirates opened up a second spot on their 40-man roster by moving injured pitcher Zach Duke from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. Duke will now be eligible to return to the club on Aug. 28, though Littlefield said that Duke's rehabilitation program won't likely have the young left-hander ready to return to Pittsburgh that early anyway.
Duke continued to throw bullpen sessions, the most recent of which came on Tuesday when he threw a 30-pitch session in Bradenton, Fla. Asked about Duke's progression, general manager Dave Littlefield said, "Everything's been progressing in a positive way, and he feels very good health-wise."
No specific timetable has been set for Duke's return.
Torres drops suit: In a decision that Salomon Torres said was made solely because of his "duty" as a Christian, Torres has decided to drop both his pending grievance and lawsuit against the Pirates organization.
"It's not my place to seek for justice," Torres said. "I wasn't trusting God to do what he wanted. Let God handle the situation. I just need to put that behind me."
Torres initially filed a grievance after claiming that the organization was less than candid with him into signing a contract for less money. And just last week, Torres had made plans to meet with an attorney to try to move forward with a legal suit.
But Torres had recently admitted that the pending lawsuit was affecting his on-the-field performance and said that as a result of that and his religious beliefs, he woke up on Sunday morning knowing that he needed to back down.
Bucs bits: According to Tracy, Shane Youman will likely be available out of the bullpen for long relief beginning on Friday. For now, it appears that Tony Armas will fill the fifth spot in the rotation. ... Nady's status remains day-to-day, and he will still be available off the bench, if necessary. ... With Doumit on the DL and Nady still unable to play the outfield, expect Jose Bautista to see the majority of playing time in right field. ... Injured center fielder Chris Duffy continued to run the bases in Bradenton and is on his way to being ready to play in a Gulf Coast League game soon.
On deck: Matt Morris (7-7, 4.53 ERA) will make his third attempt at winning his first game as a Pirate on Wednesday, when he takes the mound against the Mets at 7:05 p.m. ET at PNC Park. New York will counter with righty John Maine (12-7, 3.53).
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.