Duke was designated for assignment to clear space for the Rule 5 additions.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have added five players to the 40-man roster to protect them from the upcoming Rule 5 draft, and designated Zach Duke, Andy LaRoche, and Delwyn Young for assignment.  The five players added were Jeff Locke, Daniel Moskos, Tony Watson, Kyle McPherson, and as reported here earlier, Michael Crotta.

The moves to clear space are a surprise, at least in terms of timing.  With guys like Brian Burres and Chris Leroux on the 40-man roster, you would think that the Pirates would remove those options before getting rid of Duke and LaRoche.  Duke and LaRoche were at risk of being non-tendered prior to the December 2nd deadline, and the Pirates now have 10 days to try and trade each player, so their...

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