According to Baseball America, the Pirates are continuing their housekeeping.
They released RHP Yoslan Herrera, RHP Tyler Herron, 1B Kent Sakamoto, 3B Eddie Prasch, 3B Bobby Spain, 3B Brett Willemburg, OF Butch Biela, OF Justin Byler, OF Jason Delaney, and OF Jared Keel, while RHP Denny Bautista became a free agent.
Herrera, 28, was signed as a free agent from Cuba in 2007, and in 5 starts for the Bucs in 2008 was 1-1 with a 9.83 ERA. Bautista, 29, has pitched for five MLB teams in parts of six seasons, and has a career record of 9-15 with a 6.26 ERA.
Herron, 23, was a first round pick of the Cards in 2006 that the Bucs picked up on waivers, but never showed enough stuff to get past AA ball. Spain, 24, was in Class A, injured during parts of 2008 and 2009, and never featured the power or glove to play the hot corner, a crowded position for the Pirates now.
The other guys had decent enough stats, but were older players for their level, and with the last two draft classes looking for space to grow, were released to open up opportunities for the baby Bucs.
-- Pat Newman of the NPB Tracker (the Japanese version of MLB Trade Rumors) reports the Pirates have interest in 30 year-old free agent Ryota Igarashi.
He notes that Igarashi and new Bucco 2B Akinori Iwamura played together with the Yakult Swallows in Japan. Igarashi, a RH reliever, went 3-2 with three saves and a 3.19 ERA in 56 games. For his 11 year career with Yakult, he compiled a 3.25 ERA with 630 strikeouts in 570 innings over 507 appearances.
In Igarashi's profile, he's reported to "run his heater into the upper 90’s, and augments it with a hard splitter that he throws at around 90mph. He’s also got a slider and a curve that he’ll mix in occasionally, but is primarily a fastball/splitter pitcher."
He also could be had for under $1M; he makes $840K now in Japan. The Giants are the other team said to be in the running for him.
-- Jose Tabata, Chase d'Arnaud, and Daniel Moskos played in the Arizona Fall League All-Star game last week. Tabata and d'Arnaud each went 2-for-3; Moskos got lit up.
We're sorta surprised Moskos made the squad and Donnie Veal didn't. Veal is 3-0 with a 0.54 ERA, striking out 17 and walking just a pair in 16 innings for Scottsdale, while Moskos is 0-1 with a 5.84 ERA, with 11 Ks and 8 free passes in 12-1/3 frames.
-- By the way, if you like the idea of visiting Florida in March, the Bucs announced the Grapefruit League schedule for 2010 last week.
Here are the camp dates:
Feb. 18: First workout for pitchers and catchers;
Feb. 22: Position players report;
Feb. 23: First full squad workout;
March 6: Home opener at McKechnie Field versus the NL champ Phillies.