The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired outfielder Marlon Byrd and catcher John Buck from the New York Mets on Tuesday, hoping the veterans can bolster a struggling offense as the franchise vies for its first playoff berth in 21 years.
The Pirates, who are 1 1/2 games game back of St. Louis for the lead in the N.L. Central, sent the Mets minor league infielder Dilson Herrera and a player to be named later in exchange for Byrd, Buck and cash considerations.
Byrd, 35, is hitting .285 with 21 home runs and 71 RBIs this season and will give Pittsburgh needed depth in the outfield while leadoff hitter Starling Marte recovers from a wrist injury. Buck, 33, is batting .215 with 15 home runs and 60 RBIs. Since the beginning of the 2010 season, Buck’s 63 home runs as a catcher rank third in the majors. He is expected to back up Russell Martin.
Pittsburgh is searching for offense to take some of the pressure off a pitching staff that has carried the team for long stretches during the first five months of the season. The Pirates lead the majors with a 3.21 ERA, although there have been signs of wear and tear this month. Pittsburgh is 11-13 in August.
Mets’ Wright to begin injury rehab
Injured Mets third baseman David Wright is set to begin his rehabilitation this week on his right hamstring while ace Matt Harvey tweets he will be back from an elbow tear by next April.
The Mets put Harvey on the 15-day DL on Tuesday with a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament. The team says no decision has been made on whether the All-Star starter will have Tommy John surgery. But Harvey seemed to indicate he won’t need it.
“Thank you everyone for the kind words and support. I may be done this year, but I will be back next year for April 1,” Harvey posted on Twitter.
Clearing the bases
General manager Alex Anthopoulos insisted that John Gibbons will return as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2014. … The Arizona Diamondbacks designated outfielder Jason Kubel for assignment. Kubel was hitting .220 with five home runs and 32 RBIs. … The Detroit Tigers activated catcher Alex Avila from the concussion disabled list and optioned catcher Bryan Holaday to Triple-A Toledo. … Wladimir Balentien hit two home runs Tuesday to move within five of tying Japanese baseball’s single-season record of 55. Balentien, a native of Curacao, played for the Mariners and Cincinnati.