Craig Hansen — R/R, 6′ 6″, 210 lb
Hansen was the Red Sox’ first round pick in the 2005 draft, and he came to the Pirates in the trade involving Jason Bay in 2008. He had only pitched in 5 games in early 2009 when he was placed on the DL with neck and shoulder problems, which were eventually diagnosed as Parsonage-Turner Syndrome. This (rare) nerve disease involves weakened muscles, and Hansen’s right shoulder was affected. He was not able to return to competitive pitching until the end of July of the 2010 season. At that time, he was assigned to A+ Bradenton, where he made 11 relief appearances, allowing 6 earned runs on 13 hits in 14 innings (3.86 ERA), and earned a 1-3 record. His control was shaky, walking 11 batters (7.1 walks/ 9 innings), though he also struck out 15 (9.6 K/ 9 innings). Hansen was promoted to Altoona to finish the season. He pitched 2 scoreless innings in the final game of the regular season, then 1.1 scoreless innings in one of the Curve’s first round playoff games. In the championship round, Hansen pitched one inning and allowed 2 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks. The 27-year-old Hansen was in minor league camp for spring training, but he does not appear to have been assigned to Altoona, so I’m hoping that means he’s going to be in Indianapolis rather than in Bradenton.
Chris Leroux — Bats: Left / Throws: Right; 6′ 6″, 210 lb
Leroux is a Montreal native, who will turn 27 years old next week. He was drafted in the 7th round by the Marlins in 2005, and after nearly 5 season in their organization, he was claimed on waivers by the Pirates in September 2010. Leroux had started the 2010 season in AAA New Orleans, but after two scoreless innings of work in two relief appearances, he was promoted to the Marlins. He made 14 relief appearances in April and May. In about half of those, he did not allow a run, but in the other half, he gave up runs, including an appearance on May 16th, when he allowed 3 runs in 0.2 innings. Leroux developed some elbow strain and within a few days of that tough outing, he was placed on the DL. He did some rehab work in the lower minors, then returned to the AAA level in July, when he had 3 strong appearances, then another 3-run, one inning appearance. He continue to pitch mostly well for New Orleans in August, with 13 relief appearances. Two were rough, as he gave up 4 runs in 2 innings in one and 5 runs in one inning in another, but in the remaining 11 games, he allowed only 2 runs over 12.1 innings (1.46 ERA). Leroux was recalled to the Marlins when the rosters expanded in September, and he made another three appearances, allowing 3 runs in 3 innings, before being placed on waivers. After joining the Pirates, Leroux got into 6 games. In one, he suffered the loss as he allowed 3 runs on 3 hits and a walk in 0.1 inning. in the rest, he pitched a total of 4.1 scoreless innings, giving up just one hit. Leroux remains on the Pirates’ 40-man roster, but lost out in the last few days of spring training to Mike Crotta for the final spot in the bullpen. Leroux has been assigned to Indianapolis to begin the 2011 season.