Pirates’ Bullpen Continues To Take Shape As Team Cuts Burres

By Chad Carlson
Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Pirates’ bullpen situation, which a week ago looked to be completely wide open, is really beginning to take shape with the team’s management cutting and demoting players in the past few days. 
The most notable move occurred just this morning when Brian Burres was informed that he had been optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis.  Burres didn’t allow a run in four of his five outings this spring, seemed to have a legitimate shot to make the team, but one day after three other relievers were cut from the big club, it was manager Clint Hurdle’s duty to once again make another difficult decision.
While Burres certainly wasn’t one of the best arms in the clubhouse, he provided two elements that Pirates’ pitchers need when it comes to the regular season.  First of all, he’s a lefty, which the team is in lack of, especially considering the injury to Joe Beimel.  But he’s also consistently mediocre, meaning the team knows what they’re going to get from him, day in and day out.  He’s capable of putting together whatever is asked of him, whether it be an emergency start in replace of an injured starter, and he’s also able to provide up to three to four innings of middle relief.  It all depends on the situation, but Burres seemed to give the pitching staff a lot more flexibility.
Of course, Burres will start for Indianapolis in the even the Buccos need a spot starter.  It appears as though Jeff Karstens will be the one to step in for James McDonald if he’s not ready for the start of the regular season. 
With the demotion of Burres, the Pirates’ bullpen situation is looking clearer, with a few decisions still left to be made.  There are two open spots available, with three relievers remaining to fill them.  Garrett Olson is more than likely going to occupy one of those vacancies, leaving the last bullpen seat to be filled by either Chris Leroux or Mike Crotta.  Leroux has done nothing that has impressed me thus far in the spring, so hopefully Crotta is chosen to start the regular season in Pittsburgh.
Stay tuned to Fans From The Stands for all of the breaking news surrounding our battlin’ Buccos.
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor

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