The Pittsburgh Pirates have made three cuts this morning, cutting Dusty Brown, Brian Burres, Andy Marte, and Corey Wimberly from major league camp, according to Colin Dunlap. The Spring Training tracker has been updated, with 32 players remaining in camp.
The cuts for Brown and Wimberly weren’t a surprise. Brown was never a candidate to make the roster, as he will either serve as the backup in Indianapolis to Jason Jaramillo, or the starter if Jaramillo is used as the third catcher in the majors. Wimberly came in to the Spring as a dark horse candidate to make the bench, due to his speed, and the ability to play both middle infield positions, and all three outfield positions. His hitting was poor throughout the Spring, including some bad fundamentals, and at this point it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him used as a bench player in Indianapolis.
Burres and Marte were the only two who had a shot at a roster spot. Burres was a candidate for the rotation, with James McDonald dealing with a side injury. McDonald will pitch today, although I pointed out a few days ago that he might not be fully stretched out, which could call for a replacement. Jeff Karstens would be the favorite over Burres to replace McDonald, if that situation arose, although Burres was still a candidate for the bullpen. It seems that Burres will be used as emergency rotation depth out of AAA.
The demotion of Burres also clears up the final bullpen spots, although not to the point where anything is finalized. I wrote yesterday that Garrett Olson was projected to start the season in the bullpen, with Joe Beimel and Scott Olsen both starting off on the disabled list. With Burres gone, the Pirates have Michael Crotta, Chris Leroux, and Jose Ascanio remaining in camp for the final bullpen spot. Ascanio looked horrible yesterday at Pirate City, and my guess is that Crotta makes the team over Leroux, due to the Spring that Crotta has had.
Marte was one of three former top prospects to sign and compete for a backup infield role. He joined fellow busted top prospect Josh Fields, and former Rockies’ third baseman, Garrett Atkins. The Pirates released Atkins, and cut Fields yesterday, which made it a race between Marte and Steve Pearce for the final bench spot. Pearce has been getting some time at third base, and looks to be the favorite to win a bench spot now, along with John Bowker. However, neither are guarantees, as the Pirates could carry three catchers, which would leave just one spot for Bowker and Pearce. Rob Biertempfel reports that Pearce has made the team, which means that it could be Bowker competing with Jason Jaramillo for a spot on the bench.