Roster changes may pose problem for Pirates during spring training

The Pittsburgh Pirates report to Bradenton, Florida on February 18 to begin spring training after several roster changes.

In most recent news, Pittsburgh sent right-handed pitcher A.J. Schugel to the Indianapolis Indians. The Pirates acquired left-handed pitcher Jesse Biddle from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for right-handed pitcher Yoervis Medina, according to pirates.mlb.com.

The Pirates signed several free agents to a minor league contract, including catcher Ed Easley, shortstop Juan Diaz, left-handed pitcher Jim Fuller, left-handed pitcher Kelvin Marte, shortstop Victor Ngoepe, right-handed pitcher Guido Knudson, right-handed pitcher Daniel Bard, catcher Nate Irving and third baseman Anderson Feliz.

The Pirates extended spring training invitations to non-roster right-fielder Antoan Richardson, non-roster catcher Reese McGuire, non-roster right-handed pitcher Chad Kuhl, non-roster third baseman Dan Gamache, non-roster right-handed pitcher Trevor Williams, non-roster catcher Jacob Stallings, non-roster shortstop Adam Frazier, non-roster left-handed pitcher Steven Brault, Marte and Knudson.

Shortstop Jung Ho Kang will likely return to the Pirates in April after tearing his meniscus and fracturing his tibia in his left leg on September 17 in a 9-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs. Pedro Alvarez’s retirement brought in first baseman John Jaso and first baseman Jason Rogers. A.J. Burnett’s retirement will require pitcher Gerrit Cole to continue his success on the mound (202 strikeouts across 208 innings for the 2015 regular season).

Perhaps the most devastating loss to the Pirates, the trade of hometown second baseman Neil Walker to the New York Mets on December 9 for left-handed pitcher Jon Niese will leave a hole on second base to be filled by third baseman Josh Harrison.

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