There are less than two weeks remaining before the start of the regular season. I detailed the bullpen situation for the Pittsburgh Pirates today, noting the players who are competing for the final two spots. There are about four players competing for those spots, but beyond those four players, the Pirates have eight pitchers in camp who have no shot at making the team. That means they’ll have ten players who get cut from now until the end of camp. And it sounds like those cuts could start coming soon.
“We’ll start that process after the off-day,” Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle said about the bullpen decisions. “We’ll have a meeting Thursday.”
All of the Pirates’ starting options are up to four or five innings per start. That leaves very limited opportunities for all of the guys in camp, which means the Pirates need to start trimming roster spots down. I’d expect those moves to start taking place either Thursday or Friday.
Here is the list of players remaining in camp. The Pirates have 46 active players remaining in camp, along with Brandon Cumpton and Chris Stewart, who are both expected to start the year on the disabled list.
Andrew McCutchen returned to game action today, playing his first game in about two weeks. Despite the lack of playing time this Spring, Hurdle doesn’t have any concerns about him being ready for the start of the season.
“He’s in a good place. He felt good today,” Hurdle said. “If we need at-bats, we can go get them at Pirate City. We can get six to eight a day…I think he’ll get the at-bats that he needs. I think he’ll get the innings in the outfield that he needs.”
The Pirates sent Corey Hart and Andrew Lambo over to Pirate City today to get extra at-bats. Both players took an at-bat every inning for the first few innings in each game. McCutchen could do the same if the Pirates want to get him extra work.
Stewart Rehab Update
Chris Stewart returned to baseball activities today, participating in some drills, including base running. He’s still going to need some time to get back into games, and then some time to get built up for the season. Expect Tony Sanchez to start the season in Pittsburgh as the backup catcher. With Stewart’s progress, I wouldn’t anticipate him being out long.