The Pirates didn't want to carry too many players in September because of commitments to their starters and a wish to finish strong, but they did reward a few players they thought were deserving of call-ups Friday: First baseman Matt Hague, center fielder Gorkys Hernandez, starter Kyle McPherson and reliever Justin Wilson all were invited to work out in Pittsburgh and observe the team all month.
It's an arrangement general manager Neal Huntington has used previously -- notably with second baseman Neil Walker a couple of years ago -- and it's aimed at getting some of the gosh-wow factor out of the way once those youngsters do arrive.
"They'll work out with the team, learn from our players," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's a tangible reward for the strong seasons they've had."
McPherson, 23, had the best season of any of them: a 12-6 record, 2.96 ERA, 142 strikeouts and just 27 walks in 28 starts split between Class A Bradenton and Class AA Altoona. He's a 6-foot-4 right-hander who has gradually filled out his frame in his time in the system, adding velocity and poise each season.
Expect him to at least have a chance to start 2012 at the Class AAA level, mostly depending on how the rest of the rotation develops.
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