Pirates ‘pen coming together
The Pirates made several announcements on Wednesday, leaving just a few spots open in the ‘pen during the final six weeks until opening day.
Manager Clint Hurdle named Joel Hanrahan the Bucs closer and Evan Meek as the eighth-inning set up man.
He also announced that Joe Beimel will become the Pirates lefty specialist for the 2011 season. Beimel signed a minor league contract with a non-roster spring training invite. The Pirates will need to remove someone from the 40-man roster in order to make room for the southpaw.
“We didn’t go get him to try him out,” Hurdle said. “We wanted to have a left-handed option that can bridge innings for us toward the back end of the game. He’s going to play a significant role as well.”
The leaves four spots open in the bullpen.
After great success with the Pirates in 2010 (in 19 innings, 22 appearances, Resop posted a 1.89 ERA with 24 strikeouts), Chris Resop will most likely land a job.
Jose Veras seems like another favorite in the ‘pen. In five seasons and 176 appearances, Veras has a career 4.24 ERA (3.75 ERA in 2010 with the Cleveland Indians).
“He was a good get for us,” Hurdle said of Veras, who signed a Minor League deal with the team in January. “[General manager] Neal [Huntington] was very aggressive to go get Veras. He’s got a big arm.”
The Pirates have many options for the remaining spots. Jeff Karstens and Brian Burres could fill in as the long reliever. Whoever doesn’t win the fifth spot in the rotation, Charlie Morton or Scott Olsen, could also fill that role.
Some other options include: Tyler Yates, Kevin Hart, Chris Leroux, Justin Thomas, Sean Gallagher, Jose Ascanio, and Fernanado Nieve.
“I want these guys to have a clean shot,” Hurdle said. “It’s not always about the results in Spring Training, but it’s about the quality of the stuff. I think we’ve got enough educated eyes around here to get a better read on that, rather than just the numbers as they play out.”