The Pirates added a right-handed bat to their 40-man roster Friday, acquiring first baseman/outfielder Russ Canzler from the Baltimore Orioles for minor league pitcher Tim Alderson.
Canzler, 27, a Hazleton native, is a career .271 hitter in 29 major league games between 2011 (Tampa Bay) and 2012 (Cleveland). He was playing for the Orioles’ Class AAA affiliate, and the Pirates optioned him to Indianapolis.
The Pirates transferred right-handed pitcher James McDonald (right shoulder inflammation) to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Canzler on the team’s 40-man roster. McDonald has been on the disabled list for more than 70 days, so this move does not affect his eligibility to return to the major league roster.
Manager Clint Hurdle said the Pirates are trying to find the right mix of 40 players who could help the team when rosters expand in September — or provide options to join the active roster sooner.
“As you get toward the back end of the season, it’s like pouring gas in a funnel.” Hurdle said of picking players for the 40- and 25-man rosters. “A lot of it spins around, and you want to get it right down in that small hole coming out.”
In Canzler, the Pirates see a player with major league experience, versatility in the field and some success at the plate. In three Class AAA seasons —in three organizations — Canzler is hitting .286 with a .366 on-base percentage. He will be used at first base, third base and right field in Indianapolis.
Canzler was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 30th round of 2004.
The Pirates acquired Alderson, 24, in 2009 from the San Francisco Giants in the Freddy Sanchez deal. He was 3-2 with a 2.79 ERA in 22 relief appearances for Indianapolis this season.
Alderson was the Giants’ first-round draft pick — 22nd overall — in 2007.