PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates purchased the contract of highly touted pitching prospect Zach Duke from their Indianapolis farm team Friday, and released former No. 1 draft pick Bobby Bradley to make room on their 40-man roster.
The 22-year-old Duke will make his major league debut for the Pirates when he starts tonight in Milwaukee against the Brewers. He will start in place of Oliver Perez, who is out three to six weeks with a broken left big toe after kicking a laundry cart in the clubhouse in St. Louis on Sunday.
Duke was 12-3 with a 2.92 ERA in 16 starts for Indianapolis. He led the International League in wins and innings pitched (108) and was fourth in ERA.
Bradley was the Pirates' top pick in 1999 and the eighth overall pick that year, but never pitched above the Double-A level because of arm injuries and control problems.
The Pirates also sent outfielder Nate McLouth back to Indianapolis. McLouth joined the team for their series against the Washington Nationals to fill Perez's spot on the 25-man roster.