The Pirates sent four more guys to minor league camp: Andy Marte, Corey Wimberly, Dusty Brown and Brian Burres. Marte was a small surprise because he had been hitting so well in camp; ditto for Burres because of the scarcity of lefties on the roster. They need to pare seven more players to get down to their 25-man roster.
Who's in (19): Pedro Alvarez, Joe Beimel, Ronny Cedeno, Kevin Correia, Matt Diaz, Ryan Doumit, Joel Hanrahan, Garrett Jones, Paul Maholm, Andrew McCutchen, James McDonald, Evan Meek, Charlie Morton, Ross Ohlendorf, Lyle Overbay, Chris Resop, Chris Snyder, Jose Tabata, Neil Walker
Don't count Joe Beimel against the roster quite yet; the Pirates have said that he won't be ready to start the season. J-Mac and Chris Snyder are also banged up; their status is uncertain.
Who's probably in (4): Jeff Karstens, Jose Veras, Garrett Olson, Steve Pearce.
Who's on the bubble (9): Jose Ascanio, John Bowker, Pedro Ciriaco, Mike Crotta, Jason Jaramillo, Chris Leroux, Brad Lincoln, Scott Olsen, Josh Rodriguez.
Ascanio & Olsen will likely go on the DL; Lincoln is Indy-bound once his bruised arm heals. Crotta probably is too, just because of the numbers game, but has opened some eyes in camp. He or Leroux will get the shot as Beimel's replacement to start the season. Jaramillo's status is tied up with Snyder's health.
Two of the three of the Bowker-Ciriaco-Rodriguez will make the trip north. Bowker is out of options and Rodriguez has to be returned to Cleveland if he doesn't make the MLB roster, but Ciriaco has played the best of the three.
Our guess at the final roster:
Starting Pitchers (5) Kevin Correia, Paul Maholm, James McDonald, Charlie Morton, Ross Ohlendorf.
Scott Olsen will start the year on the DL, and Brad Lincoln will join Indy's rotation after a solid camp.
Bullpen (7) Mike Crotta, Joel Hanrahan, Jeff Karstens, Evan Meek, Garrett Olson, Chris Resop, Jose Veras.
Chris Leroux could bump Crotta for Beimel's spot; both are OK with options.
Not on opening roster due to injury) Joe Beimel
Starting Players (10) Pedro Alvarez, Ronny Cedeno, Matt Diaz, Ryan Doumit, Garrett Jones, Andrew McCutchen, Lyle Overbay, Chris Snyder, Jose Tabata, Neil Walker.
Bench Players (3) John Bowker, Pedro Ciriaco, Steve Pearce.
This gets real interesting. Ciriaco gets the edge over Josh Rodriguez because he can play left or center, as Pittsburgh has no replacement for McCutch or Tabata, but J-Rod's status as a Rule 5 guy could make the difference. Bowker is in just as a lefty off the bench; Pearce is the righty. JJ played well in camp, but he's an insurance policy.
At any rate, it's something to talk about until Friday, when the rosters have to be set.