Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Opening Roster 'Set'; It Includes 13 Pitchers

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Opening Roster 'Set'; It Includes 13 Pitchers

Article excerpt

The Pirates opening-day roster is not yet official, but it took shape Monday morning when the team optioned Jose Osuna and Kyle Crick to Class AAA Indianapolis and reassigned Kevin Siegrist, a non-roster invitee, to minor league camp.

Heading into Monday, the Pirates were deciding whether to bring an extra relief pitcher or a fifth bench player to Detroit. The moves clarified their plans; the Pirates will carry 13 pitchers, including eight relievers, on opening day.

Left-hander Josh Smoker and right-handers Edgar Santana and Dovydas Neverauskas will make the opening-day club, barring any last-minute moves. Michael Feliz, George Kontos, Steven Brault, Tyler Glasnow and Felipe Rivero already had guaranteed spots. Right-hander A.J. Schugel, who is out of minor league options, will start the season on the disabled list.

"We are going to go with an eight-man bullpen," general manager Neal Huntington said. "We just feel it's the best way for us to get off to a good start from a pitching standpoint."

The rotation will include opening-day starter Ivan Nova, Jameson Taillon, Trevor Williams, Chad Kuhl and Joe Musgrove. The Pirates will keep four bench players - Sean Rodriguez, David Freese, Adam Frazier and Elias Diaz - for the opening series in Detroit, which begins Thursday, and possibly long after that.

The Pirates also reassigned outfielder Daniel Nava, catcher Ryan Lavarnway and pitcher Bo Schultz, who is rehabilitating from Tommy John surgery, to minor league camp.

Huntington said optioning Osuna will allow him to work on his defense at third base. Osuna had yet another strong spring offensively; he hit .327/.370/.637 in 49 at-bats with a team-leading five home runs.

"We had a handful of hard decisions as we near the end of camp," Huntington said. "Jose was one especially, with what he did last year basically the whole year with us. ... He's a good man, he's gotten better, he's worked hard."

Manager Clint Hurdle said the extra arm in the bullpen will give the Pirates the "manpower" they need, especially because Brault and Glasnow are not expected to pitch on back-to-back days. The Pirates also don't have a true two-inning reliever in their bullpen, and bringing an extra reliever in effect creates that role for the Pirates.

"We've had guys this spring in the two-inning outings, one inning's been dynamic and the other inning hasn't been so good, so we haven't had anybody really jump out and just corral that opportunity to be that guy," Hurdle said. "The extra man, maybe we just cut it up where it's one inning apiece for a while to cover those two innings."

Additionally, Rule 5 draft pick Jordan Milbrath and left-hander Jack Leathersich are on waivers, according to a source, and the New York Mets claimed outfielder Bryce Brentz off waivers. If Milbrath, a right-hander, clears waivers, the Pirates will have to offer him back to the Cleveland Indians due to the restrictions of the Rule 5 draft. …

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