The Pittsburgh Pirates trimmed down the active Spring Training roster on Monday morning. Pat Light was optioned to Indianapolis, while Jared Lakind, Casey Sadler and Angel Sanchez were reassigned to minor league camp. The active roster is now at 47 players with exactly two weeks to go before Opening Day.
All four pitchers cut today should end up in the bullpen for Indianapolis this season, with a chance to get to Pittsburgh at some point during the season. Light would be the top candidate from the group at this point, since he is the only one to pitch in the majors last year and he’s the one on the 40-man roster. He had decent stats during the spring in five appearances, allowing two runs over 4.2 innings. He was mostly pitching to minor leaguers at the end of the game, but Light has had control issues in the past and he issued just one walk this spring, so that’s a good sign in a small sample size.
Both Sadler and Sanchez are near the end of their Tommy John surgery rehab process. Neither expects to be ready for Opening Day, but they aren’t far behind. Both should end with Indianapolis, though they could make stops in Bradenton and/or Altoona on the way up. They have each made one inning appearances during Spring Training recently and expect to be stretched out for more during the season. It’s not out of the question that either could make some starts later in the season, but don’t expect to see either in the majors until September (if they make it) due to the depth ahead of them.
Lakind could possibly open back up at Altoona due to the amount of pitchers already slated for Indianapolis. The 25-year-old lefty is one of the best relief prospects in the system, falling behind Edgar Santana and Dovydas Neverauskas at the top of that group, and just behind Pat Light at this time. Lakind is the best left-handed relief prospect, so that should help him at this point, though he could be passed up for that spot if Cody Dickson moves to the bullpen.
Lakind was an All-Star for Altoona in 2016 and he pitched for Israel in the World Baseball Classic qualifiers in September and the WBC second round last week. For the Pirates this spring, he allowed one run in 4.1 innings over four appearances. That doesn’t include the game he pitched against the Pirates during the Dominican Republic exhibition game. He gave up two runs in his only inning that day, though he did strikeout three batters. He is another who probably won’t be an option for Pittsburgh before September. Lakind was re-signed this off-season as a minor league free agent, so the Pirates will face a decision with him at the end of the year. They will either add him to the 40-man roster or trying to bring him back again on a minor league deal if he hasn’t reached that point.