PITTSBURGH — Right-hander Bryan Bullington, the No. 1 pick in the June 2002 draft, was among five players called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Also called up were left-hander Tom Gorzelanny and right-hander Matt Capps, third baseman Jose Bautista and catcher Ronny Paulino. Indianapolis was eliminated from the International League playoffs on Thursday.

Bullington, who turns 25 later this month, could make his major league debut as early as Tuesday, but pinning down just when the rookie will see action is difficult in the Pirates’ highly unsettled mound staff.

The Pirates already have three other rookies in their rotation, left-handers Zach Duke and Paul Maholm and right-hander Ian Snell.

Maholm will start today against the Cincinnati Reds with fellow lefty Oliver Perez slated for the series finale Sunday against the Reds. Snell will start Monday’s series opener with the Astros in Pittsburgh but that’s where the future of the rotation becomes a big question mark.

Southpaws Mark Redman and Dave Williams will most likely not pitch again in 2005 — Redman broke the tip of his left index finger while bunting during his start Tuesday against St. Louis and Williams threw Friday for the first time since suffering an oblique strain Sept. 3.

As a result, one of the Pirates’ promoted youngsters could be called upon to start against Houston Tuesday. Whether that will be Bullington remains to be seen since the Pirates must also determine who will best be served by starting and who might perform the best out of the bullpen.

One thing is certain, the Pirates didn’t add this many rookies to their roster this late in the season to not play them. The new additions to the roster are expected to see playing time over the final two weeks to gain experience for the future.

“We want to win games and winning is part of development. But we’ve got to develop the young players,” said Pirates interim manager Pete Mackanin. “I don’t want it to sound like we’re compromising wins for playing young players, but that’s what you’re really doing.

“We’re playing for next year. That’s what you’ve got to do. We have to be good next year.”

Either way, Bullington is glad to have a late-season opportunity in the big leagues.

“It was kind of a letdown last night after getting beat, but getting the opportunity to come up here and play the last couple of weeks is very exciting,” said Bullington, who arrived in Pittsburgh Friday, just a day after the Indians were eliminated by the Toledo Mud Hens. “I’m just looking to take advantage of the opportunity and pitch as well as I can.”

Bullington, a former Ball State pitcher and Indiana’s 1999 Mr. Baseball, was 9-5 with a 3.38 ERA with Indianapolis. He pitched the Madison Cubs to Indiana’s 1999 Class 3A state championship.