Pirates DFA Duane Underwood Jr., Vince Velasquez Returns from Injured List

The Pittsburgh Pirates activated right-handed pitcher Vince Velasquez from the 15-day Injured List ahead of Saturday’s game against the Seattle Mariners. To make room on the active roster, right-handed pitcher Duane Underwood Jr. has been designated for assignment.

Velasquez last started on May 4th, when he left after three innings with elbow inflammation. He made one rehab start for Triple-A Indianapolis in which he threw 4.2 shutout innings. He had a 4-3, 3.06 record, a 1.16 WHIP and 34 strikeouts over 35.1 innings for the Pirates. He is making the start in today’s game.

Underwood Jr. has made 20 appearances for the 2023 Pirates. He has a 5.18 ERA, a 5.10 FIP, a 1.44 WHIP and a 14:11 SO/BB ratio over 24.1 innings.

The 28-year-old has an 8.44 ERA in the month of May, allowing runs in four of his seven appearances.

Underwood has pitched three seasons for the Pirates, compiling a 4.49 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP over 154.1 innings. He received a $1,025,000 salary this year in his first season of arbitration.

Minor Moves

The Pirates released outfielder Fabricio Macias from Altoona. They also activated RHP Bear Bellomy and LHP Omar Cruz off the development list, sending right handed pitchers Justin Meis and Tahnaj Thomas to the development list.

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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.

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Priester got bombed. Six walks in less than two innings. He might be hurt!


What does that mean for Tahnaj Thomas — to be moved to the development list? His 2023 numbers look real shaky (including one really bad outing) — is this a ‘back to the drawing board’ move? Fangraphs had him #34 on the pirates list — did he just fall off the prospect bus?


Hooray! Should have been non tendered after last season. At least Cherington admitted his mistake instead of keeping him around.

Wilbur Miller

Be curious to see whether DUJ gets claimed. Frustrating guy. He had stretches where he was good, but there were always some where he wasn’t. Like one long stretch in 2021 when he gave up runs in 12 of 23 games. Wasn’t terrible, just wasn’t good, either. Time to move on.


I’ll be honest I never understood the many requests to release Underwood based off his last 2 years. I was a bit of defender, I think calling him below mediocre which is actually not bad for the 12 or 13th man on a lot of pitching staffs. Yes.. he was asked to the 10 or 11th man on the Pirates but that in itself usually meant there were 2 or 3 worse. While he was paid more than the minimum, even in the world of Nutting cheapness it was still close to a rounding curve. His performance declined this year and this move makes sense since he was never a corner stone of the future. I wouldn’t be shocked if he was claimed, he is the type of pitcher that shows up all the time on the transaction wire moving from team to team.

Wilbur Miller

Fair account. He was never close to the VanMeter category. I mainly wanted to move on not because he was bad (until recently), but because I thought they needed shutdown guys and that means sorting through a lot of relievers.


I’m a little surprised too, because he ate innings when the game was already over. Agree, time to move on. Too bad VV is going to be out again.


Imo would rather have bolton or someone up so that at least eating garbage innings is a learning opportunity for a young guy

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