The Pittsburgh Pirates today optioned starting pitcher Kevin Hart to Triple-A Indianapolis. Hart was among 8 cuts made by the team today.
Hart who was the clear front runner for the No. 5 spot in the rotation struggled mightily in camp and lost the No. 5 spot to rookie pitcher Daniel McCutchen.
Pirates management which made it known during the early stages of spring training that they wanted Hart to be their No. 5 pitcher are trying to downplay Hart not winning the No. 5 job.
There’s going to be a lot made that he lost the fifth starter job, Pirates GM Neal Huntington said this morning. “The reality is this is April 11, we’ve got one start between now and April 24 when our fifth starter will be used.”
“Kevin Hart has some work to do and we’re excited about the potential. We love the stuff. He didn’t pitch well this Spring Training, and as of now Daniel McCutchen outpitched him and will be our starter for April 11.”
The Pirates rotation is now set with Paul Maholm, Ross Ohlendorf, Zach Duke, Charlie Morton and Daniel McCutchen.
Pittsburgh native Neal Walker and Chris Jakubauskas were also optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis this morning.
Wil Ledezma, Jean Machi, Hector Gimenez, Brian Burres, and Brian Myrow were re-assigned to the Pirates minor league camp.
Neal Walker being among the cuts was not a surprise as questions continue whether he has a future with the franchise that made him their 1st round pick in 2004.
The Pirates are trying to develop Walker in a every-day role player, according to GM Neal Huntington.
“Neil’s going to be one of those players who has the opportunity to become an everyday big-leaguer by being a role player initially, ” Huntington said.
“He’s going to get time at third, time in the outfield, time at first and, as we get comfortable, some time at second base. He’s had a great approach this spring and he just wants to help the Pittsburgh Pirates win.”