PITTSBURGH -- Infielder/outfielder Josh Harrison was recalled on Friday from Indianapolis by the Pirates, who optioned catcher Tony Sanchez back to the Triple-A affiliate.
Harrison will be starting his fourth stint of the season with the Bucs, who considered his versatility more important now that they are back playing National League ball.
Sanchez was called up for the recently-completed five-game Interleague swing, and in his big league debut started two games at DH, going 2-for-8 and impressing the staff with his progress at the plate.
"He showed disciplined pitch recognition," manager Clint Hurdle said of Sanchez, "and looked aggressive, but in control, at the plate. We told him to continue working hard to improve at both sides of the ball."
Harrison went 2-for-11 in his first three stints, mostly as a pinch-hitter, while also appearing at three positions -- shortstop, third base and left field.
In his most extensive Minor League action since 2010, Harrison was hitting .316 in 60 games, and comes up as particularly hot hitter. He was 17-for-45 in his last 10 games, including a six-RBI game on Monday and a four-hit game on Wednesday.
Hurdle indicated Harrison, a right-handed hitter, will play a bigger role next week, when the Phillies will be in town and are scheduled to start lefties Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee in two of the three games against the Pirates.
Pirates return home tied for MLB's top record
PITTSBURGH -- Compiling a 7-2 record on a road trip to bring home the Majors' best record (48-30) was easier for the Pirates than having to talk about it. Friday's much-larger-than usual media throng at PNC Park violated ballplayers' one-game-at-a-time mentality.
They specialize in playing the actual game, not the perspective game. So they had to maneuver around leading questions about having vaulted to the top of most weekly power ratings.
"I guess that's good, but I don't know what that means," said Andrew McCutchen who, when told that the ratings essentially reflect the Bucs' MLB-best record, added, "I guess numbers don't lie.
"It's cool. But we got a season to play. A lot of ball left. I don't care about any place we're now. We aren't even in the second half. We can assess it at the end of the season."
That was pretty much the attitude all over the home clubhouse. Those embroiled in the grind know the surest way to veer off the road is by being fixated on the rear-view mirror.
"It's just one cross-section of the season and we don't want to pay too much attention to it," closer Jason Grilli said. "We are where we are because we're playing good baseball."
Even with those blinders on, exulting in the changed atmosphere is easy for someone like Garrett Jones, who goes back to the 2009 and '10 Pittsburgh clubs that lost a combined 204 times.
"We've opened some eyes, because we've done some damage on the field, showing what our talent potential is capable of doing," Jones said. "The goal is to keep playing them one at a time, not to focus on what we've already done. It's still early, with a lot of games left."
• Wandy Rodriguez's planned bullpen session was put off until Saturday, but only because a prior commitment kept pitching coach Ray Searage from being able to monitor the exercise. Instead, the lefty just played long toss on Friday.
• In Friday's 10-3 win over the Brewers, Gerrit Cole extended the Pirates starters' streak of having allowed three earned runs or fewer, now at 14 games.
First number, last word
9-2: Pirates' record when their pitchers do not allow an extra-base hit, and the 11 such games are the most in the Majors, entering Friday's slate.
"I might've just had a bad day with my kids, and it took me to a place where I just felt like putting something out there." -- Hurdle, looking back on what might have made him say in Spring Training that 95 wins will get the Pirates into the playoffs. Three games shy of the season's halfway mark, the Pirates had 48 wins.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.