Pittsburgh Pirates Option 3 Pitchers As 28-Man Roster Expires

Photo Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

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It was a little known nuance among casual fans that the Pittsburgh Pirates, and all Major League Baseball teams, were holding onto two extra players to this point in the season.  I spoke about it a little last week, but a 28-man roster was only allowed for the first month of the 2022 season because of the lockout that shortened Spring Training.  This expired after the games on May 1st.  So now each team needed to find their way down to 26.  

The ending of the 28-man roster was also supposed to begin a rule that teams could only carry a maximum of 13 pitchers moving forward.  However, the league and the player's union agreed to increase the max to 14 pitchers through May 29th.

With the Pirates bullpen pitching over half of the innings played so far, it was thought they would take advantage of the additional pitcher and go with a 14/12 split in favor of pitchers.  This was also the hope of many who wanted to see a position player like Cole Tucker or Josh VanMeter no longer with the big club.  It certainly would help to keep an extra arm in the already overused bullpen, while also not seeing a non-producing bat taking up a crucial spot on the 26-man roster.  

However, the Pirates went a different direction on Monday.  They optioned right-handed reliever Miguel Yajure and left-handed reliever Sam Howard.  Neither are much of a surprise really.  Yajure currently has an 11.32 ERA in a little over 10 innings of work this season.  Hopefully he can gain some confidence in AAA and come back as a starter.

Sam Howard hasn't really been given a chance since coming back from injury, but he has shown little control so far in the time he was given.  He walked three batters in his second outing, and then walked another in his last outing.  In just two innings of work he's given up two earned runs on two hits and four walks.  

Then today, as I was about to publish this actually, left-handed pitcher, Anthony Banda was activated from the Injured List.  This marked the end of Aaron Fletcher's time in Pittsburgh, at least from now, as he was optioned as the corresponding move.  The lefty Fletcher has a 9.35 ERA in eight outings out of the bullpen this season.  This has actually lowered his career 12.38 ERA that he had when he became a Pirate.

So when the Pirates take on the Detroit Tigers tonight, they will carry an even 13/13 split of pitchers and position players.  Hopefully starter Bryse Wilson can work deep into the game and give our bullpen a rest.  Plus, maybe he can get the first win of the season for a Pirates starter and keep the new record at 22 games, that Brian talked about last night for us on GoldLotPGH.com.

If you're instead tuning into the Penguin game, give our Saved By the Ball podcast a listen as we brought in an expert Penguin panel this week to talk about the upcoming postseason: