Results tagged ‘ Brian Bass ’

Young heads to Philadelphia

Jenifer Langosch/

There didn’t seem to be much interest in bringing Delwyn Young back to Pittsburgh, but now that’s official. The Phillies announced on Thursday that they had signed Young to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training. He’ll be competing for a spot on Philadelphia’s bench.

Young spent almost two full seasons with the Pirates. He had the opportunity to play second regularly during the final two months of the 2009 season but was used mostly as a utility player and pinch-hitter. Young hit .255 and drove in 71 in 234 games.

Brian Bass, who pitched with Pittsburgh last year, also signed a Minor League deal with the Phillies.

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Bucs claim RHP Leroux off waivers

Jenifer Langosch/

The Pirates made yet another waiver claim, this time plucking right-hander Chris Leroux from the Marlins. Righty Brian Bass was designated for assignment to make space for Leroux on the 40-man roster.

Seventeen of Leroux’s 22 career Major League appearances came this season (all in relief). In 18 innings, Leroux walked 11, allowed 24 hits and gave up 14 earned runs. He struck out 18. Most of Leroux’s time in the big leagues came early in the season, though his last three outings came earlier this month, after which the Marlins designated him for assignment.

A seventh-round pick by the Marlins in 2005, Leroux had a 6.28 ERA in three Minor League levels this season. The majority of his time was spent with Triple-A New Orleans, where Leroux posted a 6.95 ERA in 21 games.

Bass spent most of the year in Triple-A, making only four appearances for Pittsburgh. He allowed 10 earned runs in 7 1/3 innings.

I assume that Leroux will be joining the big-league club for the remainder of the season, though that’s something manager John Russell will have to confirm when the clubhouse opens later.

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September 7: Braves (79-59) @ Pirates (46-91)

Jenifer Langosch/

With the Braves sitting only 1/2 game ahead of the Phillies in the NL East standings, the Pirates will have the chance to affect that race one way or another these next two nights. Pittsburgh finished 4-2 against the Phillies this season. Currently, the Braves hold a 5-2 advantage in their season series against Pittsburgh.

The Pirates’ clubhouse got much more crowded today, as eight players from Triple-A Indianapolis’ club have arrived. That group includes Pedro Ciriaco, Jason Jaramillo, Brandon Moss, Alex Presley, Brian Bass, Steven Jackson, Brad Lincoln and Justin Thomas. Much much more on roles and expected playing time on the main site later today.

Thumbnail image for Braves.jpgBRAVES:
O. Infante (2B), J. Heyward (RF), M. Prado (3B), B. McCann (C), D. Lee (1B), M. Cabrera (LF), A. Gonzalez (SS), R. Ankiel (CF), T. Hudson (RHP)

Hudson vs. PIT: 5-3 in 9 starts, 62.1 IP, 48 H, 17 ER, 4 HR, 18 BB, 41 K

A. McCutchen (CF), J. Tabata (LF), N. Walker (2B), G. Jones (1B), P. Alvarez (3B), R. Doumit (RF), R. Cedeno (SS), C. Snyder (C), J. McDonald (RHP)

McDonald vs. ATL: 0-0 in 2 games, 4 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 HR, 0 BB, 5 K


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May 10: Reds (16-15) @ Pirates (14-17)

Jenifer Langosch/

First off, I wanted to send my well wishes to Amy — who takes such good care of us in the PNC Park press dining hall every day — as she recovers at Allegheny General Hospital. Amy, who has told me she’s a regular blog reader, was rushed to the hospital yesterday morning after collapsing here. But I was happy to learn today that she is recovering and doing well.

We miss you, Amy, and hope to see you back here soon!


  • As expected, the Pirates designated Brian Bass for assignment to make room for Ross Ohlendorf on the 25-man roster. The club now has 10 days to trade, release or waive Bass. Bass became the odd man out when the Pirates decided to move Jeff Karstens from the rotation to the bullpen rather than sending him back down to Triple-A.
  • Speaking of Ohlendorf, everyone in the clubhouse is thrilled to have him back on the mound again. It’s been over a month since Ohlendo.rf made his season debut (5 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 1 K), and the Pirates are hopeful that his return will solidfy a rotation that is coming together better than it was a few weeks back.
  • Asked if Ohlendorf will be limited to a certain pitch count, manager John Russell said it will be other factors other than exclusively a pitch count that will factor into how long he lasts… i.e. the shape of his pitches, how his delivery holds up, if his pitches are getting up. Even still, don’t expect Ohlendorf to go nine. He threw just 59 pitches in his last Minor League rehab start, so there has to be a limit at some point.
  • Ryan Church took some swings in the cages today but said afterward that his right wrist is still very sore. He got hit in the wrist on Friday and hasn’t played since. Russell declared Church available off the bench, but Church said he really doesn’t think he can hit — well, at least hit well. 

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  7. Jeff Clement (1B)
  8. Ronny Cedeno (SS)
  9. Ross Ohlendorf (RHP)

Reds lineup:

  1. Orlando Cabrera (SS)
  2. Brandon Phillips (2B)
  3. Joey Votto (1B)
  4. Scott Rolen (3B)
  5. Jay Bruce (RF)
  6. Laynce Nix (LF)
  7. Drew Stubbs (CF)
  8. Ryan Hanigan (C)
  9. Bronson Arroyo (RHP)

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Pearce headed to Pittsburgh

Jenifer Langosch/

First baseman Steve Pearce has been told that he will be joining the Pirates on Tuesday as the club gets ready to open a nine-game homestand. In 23 games with Triple-A Indianapolis this season, Pearce hit .349 with 12 doubles, two triples and two homers. He has driven in eight.

The Pirates had planned to return to a five-player bench this week, and Pearce will be that extra bat. If Jeff Clement continues to struggle, Pearce could also be in line to get more than just pinch hit at-bats.

The official roster move will come on Tuesday. It could be that Brendan Donnelly (left side pain) will go on the DL. If that’s not needed, reliever Brian Bass or starter Brian Burres would likely be sent down.

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May 1: Pirates (10-13) @ Dodgers (9-14)

Jenifer Langosch/

After spotting Johnny Depp, Charlie Chaplin, Spiderman and Scooby Doo on Hollywood Blvd this morning, I come to Dodger Stadium and find out that Garrett Jones has been in the hospital today after getting food stuck in his esophagus.

What a weird day. Only in LA.

In an attempt to get back to some normalcy, let’s get straight to the daily notes:

  • So here’s the skinny on Jones, as we know it now. Apparently he went to eat something (food unknown) after last night’s game and got it lodged in his esophagus. You know the feeling… we’ve all done it. Though usually some water or big swallows does the trick. Jones wasn’t so lucky. He threw up a few times last night and was still feeling bothered this morning, so he went to the hospital. The Pirates will know more when Jones arrives at Dodger Stadium between 5-6 pm PT, but they aren’t expecting this to be something that keeps him out of the lineup past Saturday.
  • Whether Jones will be available to pinch hit on Saturday night will be determined once he gets here as well.
  • Speaking of pinch hitters, the Pirates continue to play with just four. The team still has a 13-man pitching staff and 12-man staff, though expect that to be changing soon. Assuming the starting pitching continues to stabalize itself, manager John Russell said he expects to send down the extra reliever (my guess: Brian Bass) and bring up an additional position player during the first series of the next homestand.
  • Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit needs a hit on Saturday to match his career-high 11-game hitting streak. In his last 10 games, Doumit is 16-for-34. His .306 season average ranks third among all National League catchers.
  • Bryan Morris (product of the 2008 Jason Bay trade) had another stellar game for the high-A Bradenton Marauders on Friday. Morris allowed four hits and struck out seven in seven scoreless innings. In five starts this season, Morris has allowed just three earned runs in 27 2/3 innings. He’s likely headed to Double-A soon, and you can read more about the pitching prospect on later.
  • Speaking of the Marauders, their 14-7 record this season is the best in the 12-team Florida State League.
  • Lefty Zach Duke has to be glad that Saturday’s start won’t be coming against the Brewers. Duke allowed 14 earned runs in nine innings to Milwaukee,which he faced in his last two starts. Now he faces a Dodgers team that he limited to two runs in five innings on Opening Day. Said Russell: “I’m sure he’s ready to turn the page on it. Push the reset button. Face a different team and move on.”
  • All you Pittsburghers who remember Trenni Kusnierek from FSN Pittsburgh (she left after the 2007 season and is now a reporter for MLB Network), I wanted to let you know that she is one of the newest members of the MLBlogs network. You can find her baseball blog here.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  4. Ryan Church (RF)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Jeff Clement (1B)
  7. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  8. Zach Duke (LHP)
  9. Ronny Cedeno (SS)

Dodgers lineup:

  1. Reed Johnson (LF)
  2. Russell Martin (C)
  3. Andre Ethier (RF)
  4. Matt Kemp (CF)
  5. James Loney (1B)
  6. Casey Blake (3B)
  7. Blake DeWitt (2B)
  8. Jamey Carroll (SS)
  9. Carlos Monasterios (RHP)

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April 27: Pirates (7-12) @ Brewers (9-10)

Jenifer Langosch/

I often get asked what it is like to cover a team that (since I’ve been in Pittsburgh) loses more games than it wins. Is it harder? Does it wear you down? Do you wish you could cover a team that wins more?

My answers are always the same. My job is to report on the Pirates, good and bad, during winning streaks and losing ones. The wins and losses don’t affect my ability to write. I don’t root for the Pirates to win — if I did, I’d be working a different job and buying tickets to come to the ballpark as a fan. If I root for anything, it’s good stories, good people and (especially on getaway days) quick games. There are intriguing stories to be found in losses, too, and actually, sometimes that’s where the best stories are.

It’s no secret that this past week has been excrutiatingly trying for the 25 players and members of the Pirates coaching staff. This group has endured the worst lost in franchise history, continued starting pitching woes and having a pitcher knocked out by a line drive.

From a news perspective, there has been plenty to write about. But going into a clubhouse the way it was after a 17-3 loss last night is never easy. Reporters don’t want to ask the pointed questions — but we have to. Players don’t want to answer them — but they try to. You just do your job, get out and let the players be on their own, where emotions can die down.

I won’t lie. It is more pleasant to go to a clubhouse after a win when players want to talk and everyone is in a good mood. But win or lose, everyone has a job to do. So in that spirit, we truck along with the blog…

  • With the way Monday’s game developed, Ryan Doumit’s failure to block the plate while taking a relay throw home seemed fairly inconsequential in the outcome. However, it was noteworthy, and since it didn’t make it into the gamestory last night (I opted to instead look big picture), it’s worth mentioning here. The play happened in the second when Doumit took a throw from the outfield that beat baserunner Gregg Zaun to the plate. Only, Doumit set up on the outside of the plate and never aggressively went for the tag. Zaun was ruled safe. Doumit argued, as did manager John Russell, though replays show the call was correct. On Tuesday, Russell noted that the call was the right one: “He was safe. Ryan didn’t get in the front of the plate and just lost track of where he was. My argument was that he just slid into the catcher and it was to protect the catcher last night.”
  • Jeff Karstens becomes the eighth different pitcher to start for the Pirates, and this is only game 20. You have to go back to 1953 for the last time the Pirates used eight different starters within the first 20 games of the season. Who were they? Murry Dickson, Johnny Lindell, Howie Pollet, Bob Friend, Paul LaPalme, Bob Hall, Bill MacDonald and Paul Pettit.
  • On this day one year ago, Karstens pitched here at Miller Park against the Brewers. And you should remember what happened. The righty drilled Ryan Braun in the back after Braun took him deep earlier in the game. Both benches were warned, and Braun made it quite clear afterward that he took exception to the pitch. Milwaukee retaliated and plunked Karstens last July.
  • Everyone is available in the Pirates’ bullpen tonight, though Russell would obviously love to limit the number of phone calls made.
  • Though Karstens has only made one start in Triple-A this year, Russell said the right-hander is not on a particular pitch count. He was stretched out even through relief appearances. How long could he go? “Hopefully nine innings,” Russell said.
  • The big news here in Milwaukee involves long-time broadcaster Bob Uecker, who announced today that he will be undergoing open heart surgery on Friday. He hopes to be back in the booth in 10-12 weeks. Wisconsinites Jason Jaramillo and Jack Taschner shared their memories of Uecker, and you’ll be able to find those on the site later.
  • Brian Bass and Brian Burres remain starting options for Thursday. Whether they’re needed in the next two days will determine the club’s final decision.
  • Right-hander Vinnie Chulk (right shoulder) has been activated off the Triple-A DL.
  • Speaking of Triple-A, heck of a night Indianapolis had on Monday. Jose Tabata hit a game-winning home run in the 15th inning against Louisville. With the team running out of pitchers, catcher Erik Kratz came in to pitch the final inning for Indianapolis. Pitcher Jeremy Powell was summoned to play in the outfield.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Lastings Milledge (LF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Jeff Clement (1B)
  7. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  8. Jeff Karstens (RHP)
  9. Ronny Cedeno (SS)

Brewers lineup:

  1. Rickie Weeks (2B)
  2. Craig Counsell (SS)
  3. Ryan Braun (LF)
  4. Prince Fielder (1B)
  5. Casey McGehee (3B)
  6. Jim Edmonds (CF)
  7. Corey Hart (RF)
  8. GeorgeKottaras (C)
  9. Randy Wolf (LHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

April 26: Pirates (7-11) @ Brewers (8-10)

Jenifer Langosch/

What a weird game this can be sometimes.

The Pirates go from a thrilling three-game sweep of the Reds to dropping six straight and possibly counting…

The Brewers outscored the Pirates, 36-1, in a three-game series last week, only to then be outscored 25-4 by the Cubs over the next three days…

The Astros have won eight of their last 10 after losing eight straight to open the season. The Cubs have moved up to second place after starting 6-10…

Amazing what can happen in one week. And this is just in the NL Central.

Here’s what’s happening in the clubhouse…

  • Not in Pittsburgh anymore“: That’s the headline on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s sports page today. And it found its way onto the bulletin board in the visiting clubhouse. The headline, obviously, was in reference to the Brewers getting outscored 25-4 by the Cubs after they took it to the Pirates last week. And the Pirates were not amused.
  • I’m sure no one needs a reminder, but the Pirates have lost their last 21 games here. That’s the longest home winning streak by one team over another since the Indians beat the Browns/Orioles 27 straight times from 1952-54.
  • The Pirates will name a starter for Tuesday’s game after tonight’s affair. Likely candidate is Jeff Karstens, who has been stretched out in Triple-A for this purpose.
  • Thursday’s starting slot is still TBD and likely will be through Wednesday. Much will depend on whether Brian Burres and Brian Bass will be fresh and able to make the spot start. If the Pirates have no choice but to use both in relief in the next few days, it’s back to Triple-A to find a spot starter — possibly Kevin Hart? Hart is scheduled to pitch next in Indy on Wednesday.
  • Ross Ohlendorf is scheduled to throw one more side session on Tuesday and then will make his first rehab start on Friday in extended Spring Training. He’ll go there so the Pirates have more control over his pitch/innings count. After that, Ohlendorf will be in line for one more rehab start (either with Double-A Altoona or Single-A Bradenton) before he’ll be ready to return.
  • Spent some time talking with Chris Jakubauskas, who is in exceptional spirits considering what happened to him 48 hours ago. Jaku said he had no issues on the plane ride up from Houston, though he is still groggy and dealing with headaches periodically. He was scheduled to have some memory tests done today. The hardest thing right now? He’s not able to get a good night’s sleep. Jaku has to be woken up every few hours to answer questions (it’s a consequence of having a concussion) and so sleep has come only in small chunks. He said he’s watched the replay of the incident a few times but that he thinks he’s now done viewing it for good.
  • Manager John Russell had a little lineup shuffle in store for the club today. For the first time this season, Andrew McCutchen is hitting leadoff. Obviously, he is no stranger to that spot in the order, having hit there last season.
  • McCutchen moving up was the result of Russell wanting Aki Iwamura to move down. Iwamura has just two hits in his last 27 at-bats and has not been working the count as well as he was earlier in the season. He’ll hit seventh on Monday.
  • Just another day off for Lastings Milledge, as Russell opted to go with the left-handed hitting Ryan Church against right-hander Yovani Gallardo.

Pirates lineup:

  1. Andrew McCutchen (CF)
  2. Andy LaRoche (3B)
  3. Ryan Church (LF)
  4. Garrett Jones (RF)
  5. Ryan Doumit (C)
  6. Jeff Clement (1B)
  7. Aki Iwamura (2B)
  8. Zach Duke (LHP)
  9. Ronny Cedeno (SS)

Brewers lineup:

  1. Rickie Weeks (2B)
  2. Carlos Gomez (CF)
  3. Ryan Braun (LF)
  4. Prince Fielder (1B)
  5. Casey McGehee (3B)
  6. Corey Hart (RF)
  7. Gregg Zaun (C)
  8. Alcides Escobar (SS)
  9. Yovani Gallardo (RHP)

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB

Day 39: Pirates @ Twins; Bucs cut seven

Jenifer Langosch/

Arrived at the McKechnie Field clubhouse at 7:45 this morning only to find out the Pirates were reassigning seven players to the Minors. That list includes: RHP Brian Bass, RHP Jeff Karstens, RHP Jeremy Powell, RHP Steven Jackson, RHP Anthony Claggett, RHP Vinnie Chulk and C Luke Carlin.

Now that I’ve got the nearly two hour drive to Fort Myers out of the way, it’s time to note the significance of all this…

  • With the roster moves, the Pirates now have 30 players remaining in camp. Of those 30, two — Joel Hanrahan and Jose Ascanio — are expected to start the year on the DL.
  • Both relievers Jack Taschner and D.J. Carrasco are sitting pretty with less than a week until Opening Day. Barring a trade or waiver claim, they’ll both be in the bullpen. Keep in mind that the two have to be added to the 40-man roster, so the Pirates do have roster moves to make later this week.
  • If the Pirates go with a six-man bullpen, Taschner and Carrasco would fill it out. If they stick with a traditional seven-man one, Hayden Penn could step in as that last guy. Penn arrived at the McKechnie Field clubhouse this morning and is pitching in a Minor League game at Pirate City this afternoon. GM Neal Huntington will be there to watch.
  • Cutting Carlin means that the back-up catcher’s job will go to Jason Jaramillo or Erik Kratz. I still get the impression that management is leaning toward starting Jaramillo in the Minors where he can play every day, but that has not been definitively determined.
  • The club still has three position players — John Raynor, Steve Pearce and Ramon Vazquez — left to fill one (or maybe two) bench spots. Don’t expect this decision to be made until the weekend. The Pirates would still like to be able to trade Vazquez, who is owed $2 million this season, before potentially releasing him.

And in other news…

  • Part of the wave of Pirates Opening Day content hit this morning. In case you missed today’s items there is a mainbar highlighting what to look forward to in 2010 (answer: Pedro Alvarez), a list of 10 prospects to keep an eye on, and an organizational review.
  • Ryan Church (fractured left middle finger) returns to the lineup on Tuesday. He’s hitting in the cleanup spot and playing center.
  • Ronny Cedeno (lower back tightness) is still out, though he’s a day-to-day situation.
  • Hanrahan is scheduled to throw two innings (40 pitches) in a Minor League game at Pirate City. Hanrahan will continue to throw in Minor League games so the team can backdate him onto the DL.
  • Young outfielder Robbie Grossman gets a start today in centerfield. This is what happens when you have fewer and fewer players in camp.
  • Zach Duke will make his final start of the spring on Wednesday and will be limited to 60 pitches to keep him fresh for his Opening Day start Monday. He’s scheduled to be followed by Brendan Donnelly, Evan Meek and Taschner

Pirates lineup:

  1. John Raynor (RF)
  2. Ramon Vazquez (3B)
  3. Bobby Crosby (SS)
  4. Ryan Church (CF)
  5. Steve Pearce (1B)
  6. Delwyn Young (2B)
  7. Robbie Grossman (LF)
  8. Jason Jaramillo (C)
  9. Charlie Morton (RHP)

Pitchers: Morton, Javier Lopez

Twins lineup:

  1. Denard Span (CF)
  2. Orlando Hudson (2B)
  3. Joe Mauer (C)
  4. Justin Morneau (1B)
  5. Michael Cuddyer (RF)
  6. Jim Thome (DH)
  7. Jason Kubel (LF)
  8. J.J. Hardy (SS)
  9. Nick Punto (3B)

Pitchers: Francisco Liriano, Jesse Crain, Matt Guerrier, Clay Condrey

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB 

Sifting through the options…

Jenifer Langosch/

So, the goodbye to Brandon Moss cleared up one question the Pirates had remaining this spring, but it sure seems to have clarified little else. In fact, I’m actually finding more questions than before at this point.

Let’s roll through some of them really quickly, keeping in mind that the club has until 3 pm ET on Sunday to solidify its Opening Day roster…

  • Where does RHP Hayden Penn fit?

General manager Neal Huntington made it clear on Monday that Penn, who the team claimed off waivers, will have every chance to make the club. He’s likely to only get two to three appearances at most this week before the decision has to be made, so his chance at making the Opening Day roster will largely lie on how he fares. His numbers this spring haven’t been exceptional; in fact, in his last two outings, Penn has allowed nine earned runs in a combined 4 2/3 innings. 

One thing that muddies Penn’s future is the fact that he is out of options. That means that if the Pirates start him on the 25-man roster and decide to move him out (either because of ineffectiveness or to make room for Joel Hanrahan), the club would risk losing him on waivers. You would think that the Pirates didn’t make this waiver claim without planning on it being beneficial for more than a week or so.

  • What does this mean for the Jack Taschner?

Yesterday, I was pretty certain that Jack Taschner was going to be the sixth man in the Pirates’ bullpen to begin the season. Knowing that Hanrahan will be available beginning the second week of the season, this sixth spot was effectively the last long-term one to fill. With Penn in the mix now, this all changes.

Sure, there’s always the option of keeping both Taschner and Penn, though Hanrahan would squeeze someone out of a spot a week later. The problem is that Taschner and Penn are both out of options. So if you start one in the Majors and then want to send him down, you’re dealing with waivers again. And with the way Taschner has pitched this spring, I don’t see him getting through unclaimed.

The likely scenario is that one of these two starts in the Minors so you don’t have to worry about the lack of an option right away. Or could the Pirates have something else in mind — say, sending someone like Evan Meek down when Hanrahan returns since he does have an option remaining.

Oh, so many scenarios…

  • How about the rest of the relief candidates?

Clearly, the acquisition of Penn is not good news for the other non-roster relievers trying to make this club. Guys like Jeff Karstens, Vinnie Chulk and Brian Bass were seen as legitimate candidates to be a placeholder for Hanrahan. It would seem that their chances of being on the Opening  Day roster, though, just took a hit.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean they won’t be up at some point. Relievers always come and go throughout the season, and the Pirates need the depth.

  • Is this good news for John Raynor?

With Moss out of the outfielder mix, this would seem to suggest that the Pirates are leaning toward making Raynor their fifth bench player. With Raynor, you have a player that is still raw in a lot of areas, but the Pirates obviously see long-term potential if they’ve kept him around this long.

The Pirates’ bench right now has Bobby Crosby, Ryan Church, Delwyn Young and a backup catcher on it. That would seem to leave one spot open for Raynor, Ramon Vazquez and Steve Pearce. Because Pearce has an option left, my guess is he’ll be squeezed out of consideration and will start in Triple-A. Vazquez is owed $2 million, but he won’t be around past this year anyways, so Raynor is the better investment for the long term.

It would sure seem that things are looking good for the Rule 5 pick to at least start the season on the Major League roster.

  • Will the Pirates open with six or seven relievers?

Good question, and it’s one the Pirates are still asking themselves. How Penn does this week could play a role in this. Where Hanrahan is in his rehab could affect it as well. It would seem, though, that if the Pirates start with just six relievers (and, in turn, a six-man bench), it would only be until Hanrahan is ready to return. Then in order to make room for Hanrahan, the Pirates could eliminate one of the extra bench guys or Daniel McCutchen.

My guess is that it would be McCutchen, simply because the Pirates don’t need him to start the second and third times through the order. He could get his first start in, go back to Triple-A and start regularly there and then be ready for a call up once the Pirates need a fifth starter again. At that time, the club could go with McCutchen or Kevin Hart, but we won’t get into that discussion just yet.

If you do this, you’d be able to keep the six-man bench and have seven relievers.

There could be a benefit to a six-man bench. It could give the Pirates an additional few weeks to try and trade Vazquez, instead of releasing him and eating his $2 million salary. It could also give the organization additional time to evaluate Raynor and decide if he can stick all year.

Obviously, I asked plenty more questions than I answered. But I just wanted to think outloud here for a few minutes to try and get you thinking about what decisions management is left pondering. There are so many different ways things can go, and keep in mind that the team could make a trade or waiver claim tomorrow that changes the dyanmics of everything.

If nothing else, this all gives you something to follow during this final week of spring.

Follow me on Twitter: @LangoschMLB