The Pittsburgh Pirates made eight cuts this morning, demoting right-handers Denny Bautista, Chris Bootcheck and Jason Davis, infielder Andy Phillips, catcher Eric Kratz, first baseman Garrett Jones, and outfielder Jeff Salazar.
The battle for the 5th starter job is also over for now. Jeff Karstens will begin the season as the team’s fifth starter. Karstens was battling right-hander Virgil Vasquez who was also optioned to Indianapolis this morning.
What remains to be seen is how long Karstens will be the Pirates 5th starter.
The team remains in talks with

the Tampa Bay Rays about pitchers Jeff Niemann and Jason Hammel.
For now the Pirates bench will be catcher Jason Jaramillo, infielders Luis Cruz and Ramon Vazquez, infielder/outfielder Eric Hinske and outfielder Craig Monroe.
Many sources around the Pirates believe a trade will be made prior to Monday’s opener.