HOUSTON -- There were no surprises among the Pirates' moves Tuesday afternoon following the 5-1 victory over the Astros that formally concluded spring training, but neither was the 25-man roster set.
It was announced late in the game that pitchers Rookie Davis, Tyler Lyons and Brandon Maurer, catcher Steven Baron and outfielder Patrick Kivlehan were all reassigned to minor-league camp, meaning they're bound for Class AAA Indianapolis. All five had known before flying here from Bradenton that they weren't making the big team, anyway, but that they were needed to fill out these two exhibitions.
It was then announced after the game by Clint Hurdle that pitchers Nick Kingham and Nick Burdi, infielder Kevin Newman and utilityman Pablo Reyes were all told they're on the team.
That left 27 active players being taken to Cincinnati for the season opener Thursday, as well as two contingencies:
• If Jordan Lyles is healthy -- and there's no reason to think otherwise, though the team's concerned that he hasn't yet hit their bar of six innings and/or 100 pitches in a spring outing -- he'll be the fifth starter, and Steven Brault will be optioned to Indianapolis. The Pirates could lose Lyles on waivers if they try to get him minor-league work, so one of those classic non-injury injuries is a possibility. The schedule does have two off-days in the opening week, so a week of non-rehab rehab would do it.
• If Lonnie Chisenhall is healthy, J.B. Shuck will be cut. Chisenhall was struck on the right hand by a pitch Monday night. Athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk said Tuesday that Chisenhall might still be available for the opener but that further testing was needed.
Regardless of Chisenhall's status, Melky Cabrera, who blasted a two-run home run to the second deck in this game, almost certainly will start the opener in right field.
The current active roster:
Pitchers (13): Jameson Taillon, Trevor Williams, Chris Archer, Joe Musgrove, Francisco Liriano, Felipe Vazquez, Keone Kela, Kyle Crick, Richard Rodriguez, Lyles, Burdi, Kingham, Brault
Catchers (2): Francisco Cervelli, Jacob Stallings
Infielders (6): Josh Bell, Adam Frazier, Erik Gonzalez, Jung Ho Kang, Colin Moran, Newman
Outfielders (6): Corey Dickerson, Starling Marte, Cabrera, Reyes, Chisenhall, Shuck
Opening the season on the injury list: Outfielders Gregory Polanco (shoulder) and Jose Osuna (neck), catcher Elias Diaz (virus), and pitchers Chad Kuhl (elbow) and Edgar Santana (elbow).
I've got zero use for Kingham and about a handful of other players making this team, but that's what one can get within the context of $69 million and a decade of lousy drafting/developing. I'll have a ton of Pirates stuff in a full Grind, led by an in-depth piece on Bell, much later tonight.
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