PIT@SD: Pie leads off game with infield hit

SAN DIEGO -- Exactly two years after his 398th and final Major League game, Felix Pie got the word late Tuesday in Syracuse to get out of his Indianapolis uniform and get to Southern California ASAP.

At 10:30 PT Wednesday morning, Pie walked into Petco Park and into the middle of the National League Central race. The 28-year-old Dominican outfielder got into his No. 26 Pirates uniform, got into the top of their lineup and got into their left-field vacancy resulting from injuries to two incumbents.

Welcome back to the big leagues.

"I can't explain the feeling. It's been a tough two years," said Pie, whose last big league appearance had been on Aug. 21, 2011, in Anaheim with the Orioles. "But I learned that the only thing I can control is playing hard, and I've worked to show I can play in the big leagues."

The Pirates needed reinforcements as Starling Marte, still nursing a bruised right hand, was joined in the trainer's room by Jose Tabata, who complained of tendinitis in his left knee following Tuesday night's game with the Padres.

As for why the choice now was Pie -- who in the course of his Triple-A season had seen younger players Josh Harrison, Alex Presley and Andrew Lambo do the Pittsburgh commute -- manager Clint Hurdle just said the time was right.

"We've followed him from the start, and after playing so well for us in Spring Training, it took him a long time to get any traction," Hurdle said. "The kid's full of effort and energy. He's been good defensively and on the bases, and the last month, the swing has started to play better."

Pie was batting .251 in 105 games with Indianapolis, with 38 steals that ranked him fourth in the International League.

To accommodate Pie on the 40-man roster, Wandy Rodriguez was transferred to the 60-day DL -- a purely technical move, since the left-hander has already been out longer than that with his forearm issue, thus will be eligible for activation whenever he's ready to resume pitching.

Right-hander Ryan Reid, who did not see any action following his Monday recall, was optioned back to Indianapolis to make room on the 25-man roster.

First number, last word

53: Games in which Pirates pitching has held opponents to two runs or fewer, out of the season's first 125 games, entering Wednesday's action against the Padres.

"The only thing I've been working on is playing hard every game to be a better player, to put everything together." Pie, on the adjustments that allowed him to return to the Major Leagues after a two-year hiatus.

Worth noting

• Travis Snider (left big toe) has had six at-bats and played 10 innings for Indianapolis on his rehab assignment and has a long way to go to convince team brass he is ready to return.

"He's been out a significant time," manager Clint Hurdle said of the outfielder, whose last Pirates action was on July 27. "He's not even close to what we need from him, to show he's healthy and ready to compete at this level."

Jason Grilli's throwing exercise from the slope of the mound went so well on Tuesday, he is now scheduled to undertake a regular bullpen session in San Francisco, either Thursday or Friday.