BRADENTON, Fla. – The Pirates answered a few questions about their Opening Day roster today. Matt Joyce was named to the team, Jeff Locke was named to the rotation, and Jared Hughes will likely start the season on the disabled list. They also cut seven players, narrowing the field.

The Pirates also created more questions about their Opening Day roster today. Joyce will require that they remove someone from the 40-man roster. Locke being named to the rotation means the final spot comes down to Ryan Vogelsong and Juan Nicasio. Hughes to the disabled list means there could be two bullpen spots available. And nothing was finalized with Cory Luebke.

The Matt Joyce corresponding move seems simple. There’s no reason to keep Pedro Florimon around on this team. They could get by with a backup shortstop like Sean Rodriguez or Cole Figueroa playing once every week or every other week. If Mercer goes down, they could switch to a strong defensive backup like Gift Ngoepe.

But beyond that, there aren’t many guys who can come off the roster. I said this last night when there were fewer roster spots up for grabs. The addition of an extra bullpen spot makes this scenario even more difficult to predict.

First, you’ve got the final bench spot. The Pirates now have Chris Stewart, Sean Rodriguez, Michael Morse, and Matt Joyce. The final two guys legitimately competing for a spot are Jason Rogers and Cole Figueroa. With Morse and Joyce on the team, Figueroa fills more of a need than Rogers. The only thing Rogers has going for him right now is the fact that he’s on the 40-man. The Pirates seem to be trusting him more at third base, but leaving someone like Figueroa off the roster means you have just one backup middle infielder.

If Figueroa is added, that’s one potential roster spot that would be needed.

Then you’ve got the bullpen. The Pirates sent down Rob Scahill and Trey Haley today, optioning out two of the remaining guys on the 40-man roster. The rest of the guys competing for the two spots (assuming Hughes goes to the DL) are Kyle Lobstein, Cory Luebke, Jim Fuller, Jorge Rondon, and A.J. Schugel. Of that group, only Lobstein is on the 40-man roster.

So it’s a guarantee that the bullpen will need at least one guy who isn’t on the 40-man roster, at least at the start of the season. It’s also possible that the Pirates could have three lefties in their bullpen, if Lobstein and Luebke make the roster.

The rotation decision doesn’t really impact the 40-man roster, although now that Locke is a starter, we know there won’t be a risk of another lefty moving to the bullpen.

The Pirates will need anywhere from 1-3 spots cleared on the 40-man roster this weekend, and that’s not including the spot for Joyce, which I have projected with Florimon going off the roster.

The next best candidate for removal would be John Holdzkom. He was injured all last year, appears to be injured this year, and his stuff hasn’t been above 91 MPH in camp, with no good break on the palmball. In a perfect world, he recovers quickly and helps the team. But in reality, he looks like more of a long shot to help this year, as the arm and control issues continue.

That would clear the spot for one of the bullpen guys. But what if you want another spot cleared for Cole Figueroa? Technically you could designate one of Scahill or Haley for assignment. Both are hard throwers with some command problems, but let’s look at the facts here. The Pirates knew they’d need two bullpen guys with Hughes likely going to the disabled list. They knew they’d need a roster spot for Joyce, and probably a spot for Figueroa. And then they sent down two of the final guys on the 40-man, leaving only one guy remaining in camp from the 40-man, with two spots.

They essentially picked their second reliever (assuming Lobstein is the first) over Scahill and/or Haley. They could have avoided the need for a 40-man roster spot to be cleared for the bullpen if they would have rolled the dice with one of those two relievers who were cut today.

Today was the start of a busy and interesting week. There are still a few decisions to be made, and the most difficult ones will involve who they decide to remove from the 40-man roster.

**We will have coverage from Bradenton of all the remaining moves in camp, along with analysis from Major and Minor League camp. If you aren’t a subscriber, you don’t want to miss out on this, plus all of our other great reporting and analysis during the spring and throughout the season. Subscribe today to get all of the coverage.

**Pirates Notes: Joyce Makes the Team, Locke Makes the Rotation, Hughes to DL?

**Pirates Cut Seven From Major League Camp

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110 COMMENTS

  1. In the game today Neil Huntington brought up the idea of starting the season with 11 pitchers and 14 position players on the opening day roster due to the two off days in the first week of the season. What would be the roster implications of this scenario?

  2. That is the makings of a pretty awful bench, especially from a hitting perspective. I do agree with Tim’s assessment of the situation, as sadly the FO has hitched its wagon to these retreads – although I do like Joyce – he is the one I am glad is on the team.
    As for Rogers, I think the best advantage he has is that we TRADED two good young prospects for him….NH will look even worse if he cuts or sends him to AAA to start the season. So, I give Rogers a leg up on Figueroa.

  3. I also think they’d like to move Morse, and may even be willing to pay some of Morse’s salary to move him. Though as others have pointed out, given Holdzkom’s health there’s not much risk in dropping him from the 40-man. The two spots will come from Florimon, Morse, and Holdzkom.

  4. Off topic, what’s happening with the prospects coverage? Glasnow pitch the other day, I saw a video on tweeter where Encarnation took him deep and that was the extend of it. I will love to know how he and the others are progressing.

    • I would love to see more coverage of the camp – Pirate City – the PROSPECTS!!!!
      Less emphasis on who ends up on the roster. Something like “who’s hot – who’s not” or “stock rising – stock falling”. I subscribed for PROSPECT coverage – way too much of the content is on AAAA roster fillers and dumpster garbage IMHO…

      • So you’d like to see coverage of the guys you like and ignore those you dont feel are worthy?

        Its day before the final roster is set, and we are shocked the focus is on that for 3-5 days? Woofa.

        • The name on the site is Pirate Prospects – I could care less about the non prospects – the dregs that the BMTIBB tries to sell as the kind of players a team can win with. And yes John I saw – and enjoyed each of the article you mentioned. The Kang piece was nice – but he is not really a prospect is he?

          Maybe the name should be changed to “Pirate News”

          • You either ignored every article where Tim details his plans to expand this site, or you are arguing because you really enjoy doing so.

          • That’s why I separated Kang from the other three, but it was clearly the biggest news from the minor league side, so there had to be an article on it. As far as the “who’s hot, who’s not”, that will be saved for during the season. They don’t play everyday on the minor league side now, plus they are on the road half the time they do play. You can’t really have a story when they are doing things like drills, or when rain cancels things like yesterday. We do have features during the season for the top players weekly and monthly, besides the daily coverage.

          • On this one I don’t agree with you. Roster news this week is interesting and actually important. It is relevant if the Bucs go with MLB retreads and vets vs prospects. It leads to what I consider interesting dialogue on the site.
            I also lobbied for expanded coverage of the big club now that PP has the resources. Same reason…discussion of what is happening with the varsity affects the prospects.

            • Example of what I was saying above. For every one person who comes here looking for prospect coverage only, there’s one person who wants the entire system covered, and wants to see the impact of big league moves on the prospects.

              And we try to meet the needs of both.

              • To me the site is more valuable with prospect coverage plus big club coverage……it puts everything in context. You are now doing that and I am one of many happy campers.

      • There is going to be more roster coverage this week because that’s the biggest news. Did you see the articles on Tyler Eppler, Trevor Williams and Stephen Tarpley, besides the Jung-ho Kang news, which we only had because everyone else was covering the MLB side

      • mr bah humbug- Your opinion doesn’t appear with CAP LETTERS humble – and what team in the mlb doesn’t have one or two role players? Once they make the team or don’t- it affects the aaa, aa, and a rosters, no?

      • You know what happened at Pirate City yesterday? Jeff Locke pitched six innings. Clay Holmes also pitched, and I talked with him after, for an article that is coming this week.

        On Sunday, Juan Nicasio pitched at Pirate City.

        I got to see Brandon Waddell pitch on Monday, and will also have an article on him coming up soon.

        I also got some injury updates yesterday, which will be included in today’s injury update article.

        You subscribed for prospect coverage. You’re getting prospect coverage. But other people subscribed for coverage of the entire system. So I’m not going to ignore cuts, and I’m not going to ignore guys that the organization views as depth options, because those are stories that are relevant. They don’t cancel the plans for certain prospect coverage. It just pushes things back a day.

        There has literally been one day where we didn’t write about prospects, and that was yesterday. And technically, there were prospects involved in those discussions, just not the top guys.

        Just to prepare you, this is the final week of camp, and the biggest story will be the makeup of the roster, plus the immediate depth. And we’ll still have prospect coverage along the way.

    • That homer off Glasnow was hit on the road, they were in Dunedin on Monday and then yesterday got short-changed by the rain. The day before Tim had an article on Tyler Eppler, Trevor Williams, news on Stephen Tarpley’s injury and the big news from minor league camp was Jung-ho Kang. It’s only been one day with nothing, and that was a combo of the minor leaguers on the road and the weather costing them part of the day.

    • Glasnow was up in Dunedin. I RTed the video, but I’ve written about Glasnow so many times this Spring. There’s nothing else to write at this point in camp. The articles I’ve written on him are still relevant.

      Instead of Glasnow, I wrote about Trevor Williams, Tyler Eppler, and Stephen Tarpley this week. And it’s only Wednesday.

      • You are right, I believe your coverage is fantastic and that’s the reason I will always be a subscriber. I think I fall on the tired of the last man on the bench spot article, but I get it.

        • Interesting thing about that: At the start of Spring Training, I had a lot of requests for regular updates on who was likely to make the roster. But at the time, it was impossible to say, since those decisions would become more clear later in camp. We’re now at that time. So this is another example of trying to cover things that subscribers want covered.

  5. With Monday and Thursday of next week being off days there isn’t a need for a 7th reliever until around April 9. That’s after the 10-day window for bringing Scahill or Haley back, right?

    I think the timing of the move yesterday is actually aimed at keeping an extra bench player for the Cardinal series and then going to a full bullpen sometime during the Cincinnati series, and that would mean at most two 40-man spots would need to be cleared (Joyce and Luebke?).

    • Im not sure that, from a risk standpoint, makes sense early in the year. Its common enough to see SP not going 7 innings in the first few weeks that, if anything, id want more bullpen arms in the very early stages.

      We have the days off, but Locke and Vogelsong/Nicasio are already guys you likely dont write in pen for 6-7 innings, and early in the year it wouldnt shock anyone to see Liriano throw a good game but only go 6.

      • Liriano could start games 1 and 4 with the two off days, so depending on how they handle Cole we could have not just Vogelsong or Nicasio in the pen but both of them and even Locke on Sunday and Tuesday if necessary. I’d rather have an extra bench bat for the first couple of games, assuming we can’t move Morse before then.

        • I just plain guarantee they dont roll with 4 SPs early on.

          Someone will occupy the 5th spot and throw when scheduled. They wont want to even bother throwing Liriano as much as possible early on, for injury and late season effectiveness reasons.

          An extra bat is great, but pitching isnt going to go deep into games and more arms early on benefits everyone. You wont want any arm going more than 100-110 pitches in their first few starts.

          • When scheduled? So does that mean Liriano pitches his second game only after the other four starters have made starts? Or does that mean he starts the season with his typical four days rest between starts? I think the latter makes more sense–their whole spring routine is set up for that. And if that’s the case, then our 5th starter won’t be needed until Tuesday, April 12.

            Or they could give Liriano and the other starters an extra day of rest (I definitely don’t think they’d do more than that) and our 5th starter still wouldn’t be needed until the 12th.

  6. With the freese signing, and the hope that they find a way to keep Joyce all year, I am more confident in the bench that initially looked bad. Hears hoping nicasio wins that last spot over vogelsong. If so, and a few things go our way maybe we can squeeze into the wildcard again.

  7. Rodriguez stinks at short, but is fine in the outfield, and other infield positions. They seem to really like Figueroa. Keep the best lefty arms. People need to stop dreaming that Kang will backup at short. the guy has not even been allowed to slide yet.

  8. I agree with most of the posters below….it won’t be that difficult of a decision to make room for better players on the 40 man.

  9. I see Lobstein starting in Indy as a starter as they’ll need that early season depth. I think Holdzkom has the best shot of clearing so I agree with Tim he and Florimon should be first to move off the 40. I have a feeling we are all in for a surprise with the pending roster moves. It’s not too late for a trade.

  10. Lobstein and Florimon are the first two for me.

    Flormon being obvious, and Lobstein serves little purpose to me. He’s basically emergency SP depth if two guys get hurt, but he’s just not good enough to worry that much over. Give me Joyce for Florimon and Leubke for Lobstein, and Holdzkom seems obvious enough after that.

  11. Rogers has options!! So that is easy!! Sorry to lose Holdzkom!! Liked him a lot, but I understand the business!! Plus he may be able to pass through to get back to Indy!! Also sorry for P Flo!! He had a nice spring!! I see Joyce around for the season!! Nice lefty bat with some Pop!! Plus a change of scenery could have him in a good place for the season!!

    • The infield is crowded in Pittsburgh and it’s crowded in Indy. It’s unfortunate because he deserves a shot somewhere but this is just the wrong team for him.

      • I may be in the minority but I liked the trade both then and now. Rogers may be in a log-jam now but presumably next season both Morse and Freese are gone, only one year left of Jaso and top prospects like Bell aren’t guaranteed to be productive full-time players especially in their first couple seasons. A Bell/Rogers platoon in 2018 with one or two more years of Rogers as a bench bat who can fill in at 1st or 3rd sounds better than one season of Broxton as a 4th outfielder before getting passed up by Meadows or Ramirez and hoping Supak develops to me.

        • If Bell is still platooning in 2018 – with Rogers no less – then he’s been a major disappointment…
          Rogers doesn’t have a position (that he is good at), so if he doesn’t hit he is useless….maybe he is showing why he was in the Brewers minor leagues even at the age of 27….

          • Rogers has been pretty consistently solid hitting LHP, so there could be some place for a platoon if Rogers niches out a role there.

            You’s still be getting Bell 75% of the starts (and not have to make any platoon strict at all), but allow him to do what he does best while getting him rest. Doesnt really signal any major disappointment….unless you are prone to exaggerate things i suppose.

            If Josh Bell is “okay” against LHP, and Rogers is there, it’d be silly to not entertain getting Rogers limited at bats while also allowing Bell rest. Fits with what the team seemingly wants to do and maximizes the talent of each player.

            • We’re going to have a really good laugh in a couple years looking back on how many folks talked themselves into Jason Rogers actually being a Major League Baseball player, let alone a quality one.

              • Literally no one is actually arguing he’s a quality ML player, so I dont see where that comes from.

                Myself, im arguing he can be a useful depth option and bench option. Because he’s already done it, and has enough traits that allow him to be as good as Morse. We can do better, but also worse. I dont see any logical season to dismiss him out of hand and laugh off his use.

                Jason Rogers could fill part of a 1B situation with how he hits left handing pitching. That makes him as popular as Gaby Sanchez, but he can fill a role. Thankfully we were able to find a bigger upgrade.

                • Oh please, Luke. Twist it however you want, but people here are very clearly arguing Jason Rogers will be a quality player.

                  • If they are, its a bit much.

                    I dont see much of that happening though. I havent seen more than 1-2 people arguing it was a great trade, nor that he should start. At that point, its 90% of people admitting from the start he’s bench.

                    • Um, a long history of knowing that league-average hitters – at best – who add nothing in the field or on the bases make for shitty first basemen?

                    • Um, so the inside information is you “know” he’s a league average hitter “at best.” Good thing for the Pirates that’s your personal assumption. The FO obviously made the trade thinking there were clear indicators of a plus bat. There is upside with his track record of patience and power. That combination, along with his ability to hit left and right handed pitching, seems to warrant a bench spot.

              • Seems that it’s more his batting statistics that indicate he has the makings of a quality player. What makes you think differently?

                • The fact that hundreds of old-for-their-league hitters have mashed in the minors and failed in the majors.

                  • But he’s hit well in the majors, to go along with his success in the
                    minors. The guy has shown he can get on base and limit strikeouts, with power to boot. The Pirates obviously saw things they liked, as they payed well to acquire him. That kind of upside deserves a shot off the bench to prove if the bat is legit.

            • Broxton is starting for the Brewers and Rodgers is in the minors. Now, that probably won’t be the way it ends, but it just shows how much we gave up for Rodgers. Still hoping it turns out to be a good trade.

      • There was a funny bit on the Yes network yesterday where Girardi was basically accusing Hurdle or batting J-Hay twice – once has himself and then as a Rogers – they do look alike a bit…

  12. I don’t see the decision as being all that taxing. Florimon, Holdzkom, Goebbert and then Haley in that order. Chances are good none of them would be missed too awful much by this team.

    • I think it is a little more complicated than that because Joyce will be cut in a few weeks when Kang is healthy. At that point in the season, Goebbert is your best/only OF depth option as Garcia is clearly not ready and Rogers and Morse can’t really field the position. Now it could be argued that we should keep Joyce and cut Morse – which I would be for…
      Additionally, if (assuming Tim is correct and Luebke/Lobstein are the final relievers) Luebke is the pitcher cut when Hughes returns in a few weeks, then our bullpen depth would be down to just Scahill and Haley – which is kind of thin.

        • It’s true Luebke has options left but it’s also true he has 5+ years of service time which means he can’t be optioned without his permission. So unless this is you breaking news that he has given the Pirates his consent to option him then it doesn’t really matter if he has options or not.

        • I agree with your logic but I haven’t seen anything from Neal/Clint to imply that Morse is in danger of losing his spot

        • Joyce will be released before August 1 – or I will send you a Matt Joyce Autographed baseball, And he will be released because he is hitting in the low .200s and not getting on base a lot.

          • Well that is definitely a reason he would be released, but I don’t think the plan right now is just to release him regardless of how he is playing right (IE if by some miracle he has been producing some good results at the plate)

      • Well, in 2014 Morse played a majority of his games in the OF (80+) (LF at AT&T Park, pitchers park) and technically has played outfield more then the infield in his career, so when we are talking simply about “depth” I don’t see why he couldn’t play RF if one of the outfielders gets banged up for a short while, especially if he is hitting. If he is not hitting then that’s another story of course, but then again it is kind of a crap shoot who hits better between he and Joyce.

        A funny note when looking this up, he actually has 55 games at SS. Forgot he initially came up as that for Seattle back in the day, I should try and find some videos to see what it looked like when a grounder rolled his way

  13. Goebbert, Florimon, Haley, and Holdzkom…there’s four and the organization is no worse.

    If you want to be really bold, S-Rod too…and put Rogers on the bench with Figgy, Joyce, Stewart and Morse.

    On a totally different note, as the Orioles have buyer’s remorse for Kim and expressed interest in Joyce, I would swap one for the other and squeeze out the best prospect the O’s would give up…you know, another A-Ball lefty…

    • Interesting about the O’s but I don’t see us trading him with what they believe he can do. I’m still baffled by the Rogers/Broxton deal.

      • Terrible deal, especially when you then don’t even see that guy make the roster or even really given a shot

        • I think that’s really viewing the move through hindsight. The Freese signing pretty much sealed the deal on Rogers chances but theres no way to predict that he would’ve been available when that trade was made. There certainly is less of a need for OF on this team in the long run and Rogers has proven more (although not a lot) in his career.

            • I think terrible is a stretch. You have to be betting a ton on the upside of Supak. And thats valid, but at this point he is 95% projection and upside and we arent totally void of similar arms.

              I didnt love the deal itself, but it did fill a need on the ML team with parts that we can “afford” to lose. Its not fun, but it made some sense.

              If anything, credit to the team for not allowing that move to restrict their future moves at the same position. I could absolutely see them years ago not continuing to pursue a guy like Freese simply because they made the Rogers move.

              • I forgot Supak was in it tbh. That makes it a little more risky that it goes bad but I do agree with everything else here.

              • 95 % project…..all 19 years are a project, but I can’t see giving him 1M, pitching him 53 innings, then trading him for average hitting and no fielding. If your going to trade him, get more that Rogers.

                • That, to me, is a classic case of over valuing guys in our system.

                  We went after Rogers at his peak value to date. So really, its gonna cost one lottery ticket like arm. Which, much as I like Supak, is where he hovers. Lotta talent, lotta projection, but coming off injury and with little trade value.

                  If anything, it shows the team is willing to move depth (even really interesting prospect types) for ML needs. I didnt agree with the trade, but i dont outright hate it. If you cant move a guy like Supak for a bench like guy, you wont move and and are basically refusing to use prospect depth for roster help.

                  • There’s no way the Pirates look good here.

                    Either they gave up too much value, or they wasted *another* million dollar high school arm.

                    • I think they gave up too much value pretty clearly.

                      I think it should have been Supak for Rogers straight up. Including another player seemed heavy, but I also dont think its a massive loss in any way. I like Supak, but not so much that I balk at moving him for relatively useful depth.

                      Its a trade I dont like, but also dont see the intense hate for.

                    • I’ve noticed the greatest intensity is concentrated among people who believe Keon Broxton is a viable 4th outfielder for this Pirates team.

                      The reasoning being, trade away something you need for something you don’t, downgrade in value, then put yourself in a box that forces you to sign…(looks up his 2015 stat line)…Matt Joyce?!? Disgusting!

                      I think Broxton has a very low chance of sticking with a major league club and the Pirates would still have needed a Matt Joyce to hedge the very likely outcome of his failure. The Brewers may give him initial playing time (they’re going nowhere and can afford to take that risk), but keep in mind they have 2 other CF to step in should it all go badly.

                      Even if you like Jason Rogers as a player (as I do), subsequent moves (and/or moves not made) have made him superfluous, so in context this does look like an “oh well” trade.

                    • I think Broxton was a fine 4th OFer. Potential light bat, but useful enough.

                      I just dont really care about losing that at all, because its a spot i think you can fill relatively easily. Might be slightly worse, could be better, etc etc. 4th OFer isnt a spot i stress a ton.

                    • Sure they can look good if Rogers helps them win over the next several years. That million dollars allowed them to acquire a player far cheaper than a comparable player would cost on the open market. It all depends if they’re right about Rogers, and it’s way too soon to know.

              • My only problem with the deal was, we traded for a first base option from a team that was also looking for a first baseman. It seems to me, that if this option was a good option, they would have held on to him.

                • MIL is selling anything they can, so I think the assumption that they need x and lost x is skewed. They want young raw options with upside, and we gave them that.

                  Rogers can play 3B. He’s not above average, but when playing 3B in the minors was close enough to average that he can be a bench option behind the 3B starter. The bat carries him to either useful or not useful, but its interesting enough.

                  At the time, we very much needed depth at 3B. I didnt love the trade, but he’s capable of 3B in short stints. Really glad we found another upgrade in Freese, but i wouldnt avoid one move just because you made/want to make another one.

                  • I think any of these guys involved will amount to much. It was a minor deal exchanging borderline assets with Mil getting a lottery ticket in Supak. If Rogers turns into a bench bat that can play the corners, it’ll be good.

      • Rogers/Broxton was just a positional swap. Rogers had some excellent numbers in a half season with the Brewers in 2015 and is a RH hitting 1B with power potential. Broxton was our P2 #46 going into 2015 and rose to #40 going into 2016 – he was not going anywhere in the Pirates OF.

        Rogers was going to get time at 1B/3B. Freese was too good to pass up, so Rogers usage at 3B dropped. Morse was going to be traded, but instead, has had a strong ST, and Rogers usage at 1B has dropped there also. I like him to stay more than SRod, but I think he still has an option left so he can go to AAA and get steady AB’s.

        • “Morse was going to be traded”

          The narrative that almost never made sense. The team was jumping to trade Morse prior to ST? Surrrre.

      • I still like the deal, and maybe even more now that reports have him looking better at 3B than expected. He may not contribute much this year but can become an important depth piece next year when we no longer have Freese and Morse. Now if Bell makes it and either Frazier or Moroff can provide depth at 3B, then Rogers may never be needed. But good teams give themselves lots of options and Rogers is part of that moving forward.

        And with Rogers’ contact skills, they could probably move him for a return comparable to what they gave up.

            • You must be a lot higher than I ever was on Broxton. Or you put a lot more faith in Supak than I can given how far he is from the majors.

              Not to take prospects lightly, but we’ve shown it’s fairly easy to find comparable or better players. For example, I think Joyce offers more upside this year than does Broxton (and Broxton himself was acquired for very little), and Brault and Tarpley are both better prospects than Supak (the comparison being what you can acquire for a 4th OF).

              Anyway, time will tell but nothing’s changed in my opinion that Rogers has a really nice batting profile for the way the game is changing.

          • The Pirate management has and will to amazing things with our Bucco’s. This imho, is not one of them. The Pirates have a lot of pitching and outfielders, but why give them up for nothing? Rodgers has to contribute for this trade to get elevated to fair. Just my opinion and I am rooting for me to be wrong, would like to see him turn into a Bill Madlock, without the attitude.

    • I’m pretty sure they can only put him on the Major League 60-day, which brings up the issue of burning service time, which they might not want to do.

      • Yes that is true. If Kingham went on the DL, he would start picking up Major League service time. If he had any type of setback, he’s stuck on the DL until he can return and then his minor league assignment begins as a rehab assignment, adding more days of service time despite pitching in the minors. There is also the fact that the Pirates sent him down right before the deadline to send down players with no service time, so they don’t end up on the DL, meaning they have already shown they plan to avoid this.

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