BRADENTON, Fla. – The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Monday morning that they have made their first cuts of Spring Training. Clay Holmes and Nick Kingham have been optioned to Indianapolis, while Tyler Eppler, Cody Dickson, Jin-De Jhang and Kevin Newman have been reassigned to minor league camp. That leaves 56 players still in Major League camp.
None of these players had any chance to make the Opening Day roster going into Spring Training, so there are no surprises among the first cuts. With starting pitchers continuing to get stretched out at this point, players like Kingham, Holmes and Eppler will go to minor league camp and continue to get ready for the season. The Pirates have eight other starters on the Major League side doing the same thing, so eventually they needed to move the guys who weren’t competing for an Opening Day job, so everyone can get their innings.
When this many pitchers move, a catcher usually goes with them and Jhang will likely catch most of these pitchers at some point this season. Newman got a taste of his first big league camp and hit .389/.421/.389 in 18 at-bats over 11 games. The games on the minor league side begin on Wednesday, so he will get a chance to get his at-bats in to get ready for the regular season. The same could be said about Jhang, who had just seven plate appearances so far.
Tim Williams will have updates later this morning from LECOM with interviews from the players who were cut.