Day 47: Red Sox @ Pirates; Karstens, Monroe, Cruz in; Eight others out

Today held the big wave of cuts we had all been anticipating… and finally, the final 25-man roster is coming into view. Here’s the news from this morning…

  • Jeff Karstens has been named the team’s fifth starter. Virgil Vasquez was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis where he will be in the starting rotation. Ultimately, the Pirates decided against keeping Vasquez with the big league team as a long reliever. The thought is that if the need for a long reliever presents itself, the team will dip into its Minor League options.
  • Utility infielder Luis Cruz has been told that he will be on the team, barring any unforseen acquisition. Craig Monroe has not been officially added to the roster, though GM Neal Huntington said he expects that to be done by the end of the day today. Monroe had an escape clause in his deal that would have allowed him to leave the organization today if he did not make the team. The Pirates are ready to put Monroe on the club, but have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster before officially doing so.
  • Three relievers — Jason Davis, Chris Bootcheck and Denny Bautista – were reassigned to Minor League camp. Also reassigned to Minor League camp were Andy Phillips, Garrett Jones, Eric Kratz and Jeff Salazar.
  • There are now five relievers — Craig HansenSean Burnett, Donnie Veal, Evan Meek and Jesse Chavez – competing for the final four bullpen spots. Huntington said that none of those relievers has won a job just yet. Hansen and Burnett are out of options, so they are likely to break camp with the team. Donnie Veal must make the team as a Rule 5 pick or be offered back to the Cubs, and Huntington said on Sunday that it would be hard to leave Veal off the roster at this point. That would seem to leave Meek and Chavez fighting for that final spot.
  • Meek’s health is improving, but he is still out with bronchitis. His shoulder feels fine, though. Huntington said that the team would like to give Meek another opportunity to show where he is physically and command-wise before making any final bullpen decisions. The question is whether Meek can get healthy quickly enough.
  • Though the Pirates have been scouring the waiver wire and calling teams about possible trades, Huntington said that there are no imminent acquisitions likely.

“We continue to look and we continue to explore. Some of the people that we’ve talked to have chosen other opportunities. Some of the people that we’ve talked to our looking for more than we are willing to give and that’s in trades and free agency. Nothing is imminent, nor do we feel like we have to do anything to add. We like what we have. Can we be better? We can always be better. But we feel good about the options that we have internally really at every spot. Now we just need young guys to step up and capture their opportunities.”

  • Though jobs have been handed out, Huntington made it quite clear that jobs have to be kept. He singled out left field (Nyjer Morgan), right field (Brandon Moss), third base (Andy LaRoche), the rotation and the four relievers-to-be-named-soon as having the most to prove early.
  • With Wednesday’s cuts, the Pirates have 27 players remaining in camp. Phil Dumatrait is scheduled to start the season on the 15-day DL, which means that there is only one other cut necessary before the start of the season.

And if that isn’t enough for you… here’s the starting lineup, one that looks as I’d expect it to look on Opening Day on Monday.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Nyjer Morgan (LF)
  2. Freddy Sanchez (2B)
  3. Nate McLouth (CF)
  4. Ryan Doumit (C)
  5. Adam LaRoche (1B)
  6. Brandon Moss (RF)
  7. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  8. Jack Wilson (SS)
  9. Paul Maholm (LHP)

Red Sox lineup:

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury (CF)
  2. Dustin Pedroia (2B)
  3. Chris Carter (1B)
  4. Rocco Baldelli (DH)
  5. Jed Lowrie (SS)
  6. George Kottaras (C)
  7. Chip Ambres (LF)
  8. Ryan Kalish (RF)
  9. Gil Velazquez (3B)

Pitcher: Josh Beckett 
 

1 Comment

I have seen Karstans pitch in three games this spring and in each case he could not get the ball over the plate as one would expect from a major league starter. The start yesterday against a Twins line-up which was missing four or five starters was a joke. The comment from Neal today that he likes what he has could only be made on April fools day.

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