Bucs ink Thomas to Minor League deal

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

Lefty reliever Justin Thomas has agreed to a Minor League contract with the Pirates for 2011. The deal includes an invitation for Thomas to participate in Spring Training with the Major League club.

Thomas was removed from the Pirates’ 40-man roster last week and subsequently rejected his outright assignment to Triple-A. That meant he was free to declare himself a Minor League free agent, which he did briefly, before resigning with Pittsburgh.

As was the case this past spring, Thomas will be competing for a spot in a Pirates’ bullpen that currently only has two set pieces – Evan Meek and Joel Hanrahan - for next year. Thomas, 26, made 12 relief appearances for Pittsburgh in 2010. He allowed nine earned runs on 21 hits in 13 innings.

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