With Andrew Lambo sent to Triple-A last week, there was one major decision left for the Pittsburgh Pirates to make before finalizing their Opening Day roster.
General manager Neal Huntington spent the past few days mulling over four right-handed relievers – Bryan Morris, Stolmy Pimentel, Jeanmar Gomez and Vin Mazzaro – for which he had but three available roster spots.
Manager Clint Hurdle revealed Friday that the resurgent Morris was a lock to make the ballclub, reducing that group to three. Huntington made the final call Saturday, designating Mazzaro for assignment as reported by multiple media sources.
The 27-year-old Mazzaro pitched for Oakland and Kansas City before the Pirates brought him aboard in Dec. 2012 via a minor-league trade. He was quite effective in 2013 with the Bucs, posting a 2.83 ERA in 78 2/3 innings as a middle reliever.
However, while Mazzaro has started 45 MLB games, the Pirates don’t appear to like him in the spot-starter role that Gomez staked claim to last summer. Also, Mazzaro can’t match the explosive repertoire of Pimentel, who got a cup of coffee with Pittsburgh late in the 2013 campaign.
Since Mazzaro doesn’t have any minor-league options remaining, the Pirates have 10 days to arrange a trade or grant him his outright release.
Also of note, Pittsburgh officially placed pitcher Jeff Locke (back) and catcher Chris Stewart (knee) on the disabled list. The Pirates’ scheduled Saturday exhibition game in Philadelphia was rained out, so the next time they take the field will be Monday’s season-opener at PNC Park.