Pirates Place Brubaker, Garcia and Stephenson on Injured List; Set Opening Day Roster

The Pittsburgh Pirates still had 29 players on the active Spring Training roster ahead of today’s noon deadline to set the Opening Day rosters. We already knew where three rosters cuts would be made, but there were still questions to be answered about the final bullpen spot and the 40-man roster moves.

The Pirates announced today that pitcher Jarlin Garcia was placed on the 60-day Injured List. Pitchers JT Brubaker and Robert Stephenson were placed on the 15-day IL. Outfielder Ryan Vilade was designated for assignment. Catcher Jason Delay and pitcher Rob Zastryzny were added to the roster, taking the spots left vacated by the Garcia and Vilade moves.

Brubaker has right elbow discomfort, but the Pirates are still in the process of figuring out the severity. Garcia has a nerve issue in his upper arm and will miss at least two full months. Stephenson is already throwing in games, but he was behind due to elbow inflammation. The 24-year-old Vilade was an early cut from the Spring Training roster. He appeared very briefly in the majors in 2021, but spent the entire 2022 season in the minors for the Colorado Rockies, where he had a .697 OPS over 99 games with the very hitter-friendly Albuquerque of the Pacific Coast League.

Here’s the Opening Day roster for today’s game at 4:10 PM against the Cincinnati Reds:

Starting Pitchers

Mitch Keller, Roansy Contreras, Rich Hill, Vince Velasquez, Johan Oviedo


David Bednar, Wil Crowe, Jose Hernandez, Chase De Jong, Duane Underwood Jr, Rob Zastryzny, Colin Holderman, Dauri Moreta


Austin Hedges, Jason Delay


Carlos Santana, Ji-Man Choi, Ji-hwan Bae, Rodolfo Castro, Ke’Bryan Hayes, Oneil Cruz


Canaan Smith-Njigba, Bryan Reynolds, Andrew McCutchen, Connor Joe, Jack Suwinski

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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i just… why wouldnt you just call up Selby or Yohan or Burrows (or someone else i’m missing) and save the 40 man roster spot?

i mean im not losing sleep about losing Vilade per se, but still.

half the time they act like a 40 man spot is this super precious thing (ie, not giving one to Sabol), but here they are giving one to Zastryzny, just to be able to say they have a non-Hernandez lefty in the pen.

forgive me for not really caring about having a middling LOOGY in a bullpen in a 74 win season, vs just throwing a (promising) righty and winning 73.

Last edited 2 months ago by jaygray007

He pitched damn well today, so maybe he just earned the spot? Period. Why would you give a spot to one of those players you mentioned whom have no role to fill on this team. We need a reliever, is burrows relieving? No. Having a Lefty whom can get people out is a huge value. All signs point to that he can. Do you want our starters constantly losing wins due to shitty bullpen play? no.

Wilbur Miller

The Zazman isn’t even a LOOGY. He’s had a lot of reverse platoon splits. So it really looks like they just wanted to say they have two lefties.


And, he has no options remaining.



i know its not QUITE this simple, but i know i’d rather have Sabol than Z, and just let Selby or Yohan or Burrows toss in the majors.


Okay, but why…?


If someone could assure me that Sabol is ready to be a competent backup catcher, I’d be with you.


Anywhooo…Rob Zastryzny can now go change his shorts. Good for him.


Looks like there is concern that Brubaker is gone for the year. That would be a terrible blow.


Honestly they’ve been insanely lucky with pitcher injuries the past several years.


lucky requires you to have someone you’d care to lose, we haven’t


Jason Mackey said on The Fan earlier that things are not looking good, and that TJ surgery is the most likely outcome, although the Pirates are still reviewing other options.


Vilade is gone, now we can rest in peace 🙏

Wilbur Miller

Until they claim him off their own waivers.


And now you have to drop the “Who’s Still On the Roster” when you mention him….lol


I win the cookie. I said back in February, he will be DFAd before the season starts. Now someone will probably claim him on waivers. They will DFA him at some point during the season, and the Pirates will claim him back.


Noone is going to claim him unless there’s a substantial OF injury in the next 3 days and they don’t have anyone better. Vilade is going to AAA my friend. And he’ll stay there until he either learns how to play baseball or the season is over


Or they claim some guy not quite as good lol.


You guys are mean!


No worries. They will find no trade partners, no one will claim him, and…. will be in Indy……


he had some questionable pedigree, but not sure he qualifies even as a AAAA guy.


He’s 24- at least give him a year in our system to right himself


D’accord. A below-average fielder with limited power only finds a few bidders. Unfortunately, that describes Sabol as well.

Wilbur Miller

So they carried Vilade all this time, losing Sabol in the process, and the sole return is a few spring training ABs. Genius!!


If Sabol becomes any kind of a hitter, this becomes a major screwup by BC. They better hope Sabol gets returned to us somehow, so people will forget.

Scam likely

People were saying protect sabol dfa vilade , if Ben would only listen.


Keeping Vilade all offseason was strange but I’m not sure how that relates to Sabol. If he’d had Vilade’s spot and was DFA’d today that would be worse than having him taken in the Rule 5 draft.


Vilade was claimed and added to the 40-man just days before they had to set the 40-man for the Rule 5 draft. they could of DFAd Vilade then, added Sabol to the 40-man, and he would not have been available for Cincy to select him in the Rule 5 draft.

Scam likely

Lots of cuts still on 40 man roster.


Of course and they probably should have protected him but not overall Vilade because he doesn’t have a roster spot. You have to add him over someone like Marcano or Mitchell. You can’t use one 40 man spot to both protect Sabol and to add Zastryzny to the 40 man roster.


that just isn’t accurate. Vilade was the placeholder for the second catcher. You could argue that they should have put Sabol on the 40-man, and DFA Marcano, or Andujar sooner, or Mitchell, or go with 19 pitchers and 21 position players. But they always needed room for the backup catcher on the 40 man. Letting Sabol go was a poor move on their part because of how things played out, and they are accountable for how things play out, but it wasn’t because of having Vilade act as the backup catcher on the 40-man.

Wilbur Miller

Um, roster spots are fungible. Nothing required Vilade’s spot to be used for a catcher. They could have ditched Yohan Ramirez or just not claimed Mathias. Finding space on a 100-loss roster is one of the least challenging tests in sports. But BC keeps flunking it.


Those last two sentences are funny but make me sad all at the same time.


Agreed. They dropped lots of guys from the 40-man since then. If they were planning that far in advance on the 2nd catcher, that is even worse. Injuries happen with guys put on 60 day IL, guys get DFAd during the off-season, etc. I would hope they are not that inept.


That’s fine, but the real question is which position player would you DFA now to put Sabol on it. And it is not Vilade bacause he is not on there, Delay is on there instead.

Wilbur Miller

Mathias, Ramirez. Although I don’t mind Mathias TOO much because he reduces the odds of Owings getting called up. Of course, they could have not bothered with Owings in the first place.
I also think they need to reduce their legion of mediocre middle relievers. Crowe, De Jong and Underwood are basically the same guy. They need two at most.
And I wouldn’t have kept Joe. Cutch made him superfluous.


Disagree. Joe and Cutch are not the same player. Joe has more defensive flexibility, Joe could very easily put up a .750 OPS this year and play some first if one of our 1B’s become useless, which is entirely possible. He can also handle the Outfield on a longer term basis if there’s an injury. I don’t think Cutch can.


When last I checked, Cutch doesn’t play first or third.

Wilbur Miller

I’ve seen Joe. He doesn’t, either. He just has more of a history of standing there. And his defensive numbers in the OF are bad.

I wouldn’t count too much on Joe’s bat, either. His career OPS away from Coors is under .650, and he’s moving to one of the worst parks in MLB for RH power.


Having said that, I would now take Sabol over Mathias, but not like that is a slam dunk.


Sabol went 0-2 today with 1 K. Maybe it is a sign. Of course, that is against Gerrit Cole, who went 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, and 11 ks. Looks like he was pinch hit for when the lefty, Peralta came in.


Of all the bone-headed moves, the Sabol one may be the most regrettable for this year (accept for maybe keeping the manager and hitting coach), if for no other reason than to have a catcher who can actually hit the ball before Endy and Henry arrive. They could have always traded if all three work out (still an “if”).


sabol is not a major league catcher, at least not yet. the giants dont trust his catching, you cant stash a hitter at catcher

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