Pirates bring back Marvel, invite 10 others


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James Marvel. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

The Pirates invited 11 more non-roster players to spring training Monday, including their 2019 minor league pitcher of the year, James Marvel.

Marvel will be joined by right-handed pitchers Montana DuRapau, Luis Escobar, Tom Koehler, and Nick Mears, left-handed pitchers Williams Jerez, Nik Turley and Blake Weiman, catchers Christian Kelley and Jason Delay and outfielder Jared Oliva.

The glaring omission is Pablo Reyes, who cleared waivers and was outrighted off the 40-man roster last week.

Marvel was an All-Star in Double-A in 2019 and pitched to a 2.67 ERA in 11 Triple-A starts, earning the 26-year-old a spot as a September call-up. His first trip to the majors did not go well, going 0-3 with an 8.31 ERA in his four starts. He was outrighted off the roster in November.

DuRapau, Escobar and Jerez also pitched for the Pirates in 2019, but were all removed from the 40-man during the Pirates roster crunch.

Koehler and Weiman are both going to try to make the roster after missing most of the last two years with substantial arm injuries. Koehler, 33, signed a low cost two-year deal before 2019. He had a couple seasons as a serviceable inning eater in the Marlins rotation from 2013-2016, but floundered in 2017 and then missed all of 2018 with a shoulder injury, which required surgery. He made four appearances in the lower levels of the minors late in 2019. Turley, 30, combined elite fastball and curveball spin in his 2017 cameo, his only trip in the majors, but has battled elbow injuries since the Pirates claimed him off waivers before the 2018 season.

Oliva, 24, and Mears, 23, tore up the Arizona Fall League this year. Oliva lead the league in doubles (11) and stolen bases (11), and Mears struck out 11 over 8.2 scoreless innings. Neither seem likely to make the opening day team, but they both could be in the mix for a major-league promotion late in the season.

Delay was a Double-A All-Star in 2019. Kelley and Weiman both earned promotions to Triple-A, though neither excelled in their limited time in Indianapolis.

These 11 NRIs will join outfielder Socrates Brito, infielders Phillip Evans and Jake Elmore, right-hander Hector Noesi and left-hander Miguel Del Pozo as the players looking for a roster spot this spring.

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