PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With Opening Day just a few days away, the Pirates sent six players to the minor leagues on Monday to pare down their roster to 25 players.
Among that group was infielder/outfielder Jose Osuna, who was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis, along with relief pitcher Kyle Crick. Left-handed reliever Kyle Siegrist, right-hander Bo Schultz, catcher Ryan Lavarnway and outfielder Daniel Nava were all reassigned to minor league camp.
Osuna, who made his Major League Baseball debut last season with the Pirates, led the team with five home runs and 16 RBIs during Grapefruit League play. Osuna hit seven home runs in 227 plate appearances in 2017 while playing three different positions in the field.
Crick, a 25-year-old right-hander, was acquired by the Pirates in the trade that sent former National League Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutchen to the San Francisco Giants. He has pitched 32.1 innings in his major league career with 28 strikeouts and an ERA of 3.06.
The final roster moves will give the Pirates 13 pitchers, eight of them in the bullpen. Former top prospect righty Tyler Glasnow and left-hander Steven Brault, who have come up through the minor leagues as starters, will take two of the spots in the bullpen, along with Michael Feliz, who was acquired from the Houston Astros in a trade for former first round pick Gerrit Cole. Joe Musgrove, the other pitcher obtained in the Cole trade, will start the season in the starting rotation.
With eight starting position players in the Pirates’ projected everyday lineup, that leaves only four players on the bench: catcher Elias Diaz, infielder David Freese and utility men Sean Rodriguez and Adam Frazier. Freese, Rodriguez and Frazier are all capable of playing multiple positions, and Rodriguez is presumed to be the emergency catcher should Diaz be inserted into a game and suffer an injury.
The Pirates will play their opening series of the season on the road against the Detroit Tigers from the American League Central. Since they will use a designated hitter in those games, only three players will remain if they need to make substitutions. After the three game series in Detroit they will return to Pittsburgh for a six-game homestand at PNC Park, beginning on April 2 against the Minnesota Twins.