The Pittsburgh Pirates have added right-handed pitcher Cody Bolton to their active roster ahead of Wednesday’s game. Bryan Reynolds has also rejoined the Pirates, returning from the Bereavement List.
To make room on the active roster, pitcher Wil Crowe has been placed on the 15-day Injured List, and Canaan Smith-Njigba has been optioned to Indianapolis.
The 24-year-old Bolton was a sixth round pick of the Pirates out of high school in 2017. He developed quickly as a starting pitcher, before getting sidetracked by multiple injuries and the lost 2020 season, though he was at the Pirates Alternate Training Site that year. He missed all of 2021, then returned in a long relief/starter role with Indianapolis last year.
Bolton had a 3.09 ERA, 82 strikeouts and a 1.28 WHIP in 75.2 innings last year. His downside was 40 walks during that time. He has improved this year in a shorter relief role, posting a 2.38 ERA, 14 strikeouts and an 0.88 WHIP in 11.1 innings with Indianapolis.
Ryan Palencer recently wrote about Bolton embracing his bullpen role.
Reynolds missed three days/two games for the Pirates. He has been at the center stage during that time though, signing a deal that will keep him in Pittsburgh through at least 2030.
Crowe is out with right shoulder discomfort. He has made just five appearances this season, posting a 4.66 ERA, a 1.86 WHIP and nine strikeouts in 9.2 innings.
Smith-Njigba has really struggled, which has led to limited time recently. He’s hitting .125/.216/.219 in 37 plate appearances over 14 games this year. He made the Pirates Opening Day roster this year despite having extremely limited MLB time, while missing the second half of 2022 due to injury. This move will allow him to get regular at-bats with Indianapolis.
The Pirates still need to open up a 40-man roster spot for Bolton. So check back for that update.
UPDATE: Tyler Heineman has been designated for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. That’s an interesting choice by the Pirates considering he’s their third-string catcher and Endy Rodriguez in on the Injured List. The only active catcher on the Indianapolis roster right now is Grant Koch, who is more of a fill-in at the Triple-A level. He had some major issues at Altoona in the past.
So for the time being, there’s no actual third-string option for the big league club, and Indianapolis doesn’t have a starter.
While there hasn’t been an update on Rodriguez, he is eligible to come off of the IL on Friday. Not saying he will, but just that it’s the first day he can return.
UPDATE II: Just found out that catcher Dylan Shockley has moved up to Indianapolis. He gives them a strong defensive catching option, but he has limited at-bats in full-season ball over the last three years (four including the lost 2020 season).
John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.
When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.
I mean….do we really need a 3rd string catcher with Endy potentially coming up in a few weeks? Then we have Davis sliding up to AAA and all is good. The real question is- Delay has shown himself to be actually better than Hedges so far, you cant send him down when Endy gets the callup, so do you keep 3 catchers for awhile? Maybe….
Ah , the Blake Sabol treatment
What if Heineman is claimed??? probably not going to happen but what if??? a SMH move by BC…
Agree with you, that’s a dumb move, just to give Maggi a shot! Heineman won’t last but a few days, the Angels for example need catching depth.
Not like Heineman is irreplaceable. Would not be surprised that he goes unclaimed and he accepts the outright to Indy.
If Hedges goes down, which he almost did yesterday, who gets the call?
Bins or Koch temporarily and grab someone experienced to back up Delay.
I just have this conspiracy theory that csn can be converted to 1b
they need to convert him to “usable hitter” first
Could be 🙂
This still gives the magic man a chance to get in a couple games. Was thinking CSN was heading down. This was his chance, and now he falls behind Mitchell and Swags
Bringing up Bolton is a positive development. While all on the DL currently, Crowe, DeJong and Z-man probably all need replaced.
I hope Crowe is okay and can come back fully healthy and regain effectiveness. I’m never optimistic, though, when it’s a shoulder.
I’m glad CSN will get regular ABs, and I’m glad Maggi still has a chance to get a couple of innings–good choices there. I’m also happy for Bolton who has been through a lot to get here.
Bolton has shown a positive improvement and hopefully he will continue that trend with the Pirates. As stated, 11.1 IP, 2.38 ERA, 14 K and only 2 Walks. There are other RP’s at AAA and AA that are also looking for an opportunity.
It’s interesting that there are 3 relievers at Indy on the 40-man (Selby, Villalobos, de los Santos), and none of them was called up. I mean, they’ve all pitched pretty poorly, but it’s April, and work all offseason to build that depth and still use the guy you didn’t protect anyway. Figures…
As for the corresponding move, could be Burrows to the 60IL or Villalobos DFA’d. My money’s on Villalobos. He was an opportunistic claim and has looked awful at AAA in very limited action (2 innings in 2 weeks).
did i miss an update on burrows?
no, just saying one way to open up the 40-man spot for Bolton would be to move Burrows to the 60-day IL. That has not happened as yet, in fact there’s been no news about Burrows for 2 weeks since he was supposed to get a second opinion on his elbow. I do speculate that both the Pirates and Burrows know the diagnosis and Burrows is thinking over his options.
Burrows still getting his 2nd opinion this week I think. He is on the minor league DL and from what I understand from the staff here he has to go on the minor league 60 if he does go long term. At least that is how I understood the guys
You can only open up a 40-man spot if he goes on the MLB 60-day IL. The milb 60-day opens up a minor league spot now that they have a 180-player limit, so it does have some value. However, if he’s added to the MLB 60-day, he starts accruing service days in the majors and he gets big league pay instead. That could be a lot of money and a valuable resource to use up just to save a fringe reliever
Thanks. I am thinking that it was you that posted pretty much this a couple of weeks ago when it came out that Burrows may have a significant injury. Just was lazy in digging for the post. Appreciate the repost! Great stuff as usual.