By John Perrotto_The Pirates must submit their opening-day roster to the commissioner‚Äôs office by Sunday and it appears they won‚Äôt be adding any outside help.
‚ÄúI don‚Äôt anticipate us doing anything,‚Äù Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôre always looking to improve our club but I don‚Äôt see a deal out there that would make us better. I‚Äôm perfectly happy going into the season with what we have right now.‚Äù
The Pirates had been trying hard to acquire right-hander Jeff Niemann from the Tampa Bay Rays but apparently balked at the asking price. They have also had moderate interest in Colorado Rockies infielder Jeff Baker and Detroit Tigers outfielder Brent Clevlen.
The Pirates got down to the 25-man limit Friday by optioning rookie right-handed reliever Evan Meek to Class AAA Indianapolis.
He has not pitched since March 20 because of a tired shoulder and then bronchitis, and the Pirates want him to build arm strength in the minor leagues.
Thus, rookie right-hander Jesse Chavez won the last bullpen spot despite having an 11.45 ERA this spring.
The rest of the relief corps is set with
closer Matt Capps, left-handed set-up man John Grabow and right-handed set-up man Tyler Yates forming the back end of the bullpen while left-handers Sean Burnett and Donnie Veal and right-hander Craig Hansen will work in middle relief. The Pirates have opted not to go with a long reliever.
Left-hander Paul Maholm will be the opening-day starter, fronting a rotation that includes right-hander Ian Snell, lefty Zach Duke and righties Ross Ohlendorf and Jeff Karstens
The Pirates‚Äô opening-day batting order is expected to be left fielder Nyjer Morgan, second baseman Freddy Sanchez, center fielder Nate McLouth, catcher Ryan Doumit, first baseman Adam LaRoche, right fielder Brandon Moss, third baseman Andy LaRoche and shortstop Jack Wilson.
Outfielder Craig Monroe was the only non-roster player to make the club and will be joined on the bench by catcher Jason Jaramillo, infielders Luis Cruz and Ramon Vazquez and infielder/outfielder Eric Hinske.
Jaramillo and Cruz will be two of four rookies on the roster along with Chavez and Veal.
* John Perrotto covers the Pirates for Baseball America, Piratesreport.com and Major League Baseball for Baseball Prospectus