Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitcher Acquired from Detroit to Compete for Spot in Rotation

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Pitcher Acquired from Detroit to Compete for Spot in Rotation

Article excerpt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Pirates further diversified their pitching options Wednesday when they acquired left-hander Andrew Oliver from the Detroit Tigers in exchange for catcher Ramon Cabrera.

The trade, which occurred on the third day of the winter meetings at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, was the third in the past week that brought the Pirates an inexpensive pitcher. The final two spots in the rotation are up in the air, especially because Charlie Morton will not return from Tommy John ligament replacement surgery until at least June.

"We've talked to him about preparing to come to camp to compete as a starter," general manager Neal Huntington said. "If not, we'll look into the bullpen."

Oliver, 25, struck out 112 batters in 118 innings for Class AAA Toledo in 2012 and had a 4.88 ERA. The second-round pick in the 2009 draft previously appeared in the majors in 2011.

Oliver also walked 88 batters in 2012, the second consecutive season in which he has walked at least 80. His walks per nine innings in the minors climbed from 4.9 in 2011 to 6.7 last year.

Cabrera, a 23-year-old switch-hitter, hit .278 in a 2012 season spent mostly in Class AA Altoona. With Class A Bradenton in 2011, Cabrera hit .343 with a .410 on-base percentage.

"We like the arm, we like the fastball, we like the breaking ball, we like how he does things," Huntington said of Oliver. "As tough as it is to give up a young switch-hitting catcher that we like a lot, we felt like Andrew was a good addition to our club."

About Appel

Agent Scott Boras said the military-inspired training methods the Pirates use with some of their prospects did not factor into first- round pick Mark Appel's decision to return to Stanford.

Boras also said the Pirates had little chance to sign Appel, the eighth overall pick of the 2012 amateur draft.

Appel declined a $3.8 million offer, the most the Pirates could pay under the new CBA without losing a draft pick. …

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