The Pirates made their first cuts today, with no real surprises in the first group.
The FO sent OF Jerry Sands, 1B Clint Robinson and RHPs Vic Black, Stolmy Pimentel, Hunter Strickland & Duke Welker to Indy. Sands and Robinson both were long shots with an option to burn, and neither were off to good starts (Robinson - .200, Sands .187), but provide the Bucs with some flexibility. The pitchers were guys that were in camp for a look; a couple could end up in Altoona, depending on how future cuts fall.
They also re-assigned RHP Jameson Taillon, RHP Erik Cordier, 1B Matt Hague, IF Anderson Hernandez,
and OF Darren Ford to minor league camp. None had a realistic chance to make the roster, although Hague (.364) and Hernandez (.417), who banged up his shoulder Friday, gave it the old college try.
Lefties Andy Oliver (15.43 ERA) and Jonathan Sanchez (11.81 ERA) made it through the first cuts, but aren't likely to make through the next if they don't step it up. Oliver still has an option remaining, while Sanchez has an opt-out clause if he doesn't make the active roster.
The Bucs also cut LHP Aaron Poreda, a former #1 draft pick that they claimed in the 2011 Rule 5 Triple A draft in 2011; he was on the minor league roster and was hurt for most of last season.
The Pirates have 51 players in camp now, with pitchers Charlie Morton, Francisco Loriano, Jeff Karstens, and Jose Contreras rehabbing, C Ali Solis sitting with a bad back and Chase d'Arnaud out with a sprained thumb. JK and Solis should be ready to return to action during the spring; the other guys will likely open the year on the DL.
The bullpen spots remain in play, as do the bench positions, while Alex Presley is fighting an uphill battle to stick with the big club as a fifth OFer.