The Pirates have three pitchers who are beginning the year on the (long term) disabled list.  When they eventually are ready to return, they will have to do some minor league rehabbing.  

Donnie Veal  --  L/L, 6' 4", 230 lb
Veal was a Rule 5 draft pick for the Pirates in 2008, coming from the Cubs' organization.  He did spend the entire 2009 season officially on the Pirates' roster, though he also went onto the Disabled List with vague injuries twice.  He pitched 7 "rehab" games in Altoona (5 starts, no record, 13.1 innings, 1.35 ERA), and 9 "rehab" games in Indianapolis (0-1 record, 14 innings, 6.43 ERA).   Veal got in only rare work out of the Pirates' bullpen, and his control suffered all season.  However, after the season, Veal was assigned to the Arizona Fall League, where he got in regular work -- and dominated.  Veal returned to Indianapolis to begin the 2010 season.  His control was improving, and in his first 4 starts, he allowed 8 runs over 22.1 innings (3.22 ERA) with 9 walks and 14 strikeouts.  The next three starts were rough, with 13 runs in 15.1 innings.  Then Veal had his best outing, throwing 7 shutout innings and allowing just 2 hits.  He made one more start, and allowed 3 runs on 5 hits.  Then Veal was shut down with elbow problems, which eventually led to Tommy John surgery.  Overall for the season, Veal earned a 3-2 record and a 4.35 ERA in 49.2 innings of work, with 24 earned runs and 42 hits, 23 walks (4.2 walks/ 9 innings), and 41 strikeouts (7.4 K/ 9 innings).   Veal was non-tendered at the end of the 2010 season, but was quickly signed to a minor league contract.  He came to spring training and worked on things like fielding drills, but did not pitch competitively.  The 26-year-old is tentatively on track to return by the middle of the 2011 season.  


Jose Ascanio  -- R/R,  6' 0",  170 lb
Ascanio, a 25-year-old Venezuelan native, was first signed by the Braves, then traded to the Cubs, and in July 2009 was traded to the Pirates.  After the trade, Ascanio made one start in Indianapolis, then moved up to Pittsburgh, where he made 2 relief appearances.  He developed some shoulder problems at that point, and was out for the rest of the season, eventually having shoulder surgery.  He was ready to pitch again in mid-2010, and made one rehab start with the GCL Pirates and another with A+ Bradenton, throwing a total of 3 scoreless innings.  Unfortunately, Ascanio injured his hand (off the field) at that point, which shut him down for the rest of 2010.  He did get in some work for Los Leones del Caracas in the Venezuelan Winter League,throwing 9 scoreless innings over 8 games, with 5 hits, one walk, and 7 strikeouts.  Ascanio, who is on the Pirates' 40-man roster, came to spring training, but pitched very little, and when he did pitch, he did not have good command.  He was placed on the DL to begin the 2011 season, but it's unclear where he will go from there.  He is not even close to being ready to pitch at the major league level, but he is out of options, and might not make it through waivers without being claimed.  

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