Brentz put on waivers, hopes to return to Bucs

Musgrove breezes through five in effort to build up strength

March 25th, 2018

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- This was not an easy Spring Training for . He joined the Pirates on Feb. 20, out of Minor League options and needing to prove himself. His vision wasn't right early in camp due to an outdated prescription for contact lenses. More recently, he missed time due to a sore shoulder.
On Sunday morning, the Pirates met with Brentz and informed him that he had been placed on outright waivers. The 29-year-old corner outfielder will be claimed by another club, or moved off Pittsburgh's 40-man roster. Either way, he won't crack the Opening Day roster.
"Great group of guys, coaching staff. Getting to know everyone has been great," Brentz said. "Unfortunately it's business, you know? Things like this happen. Part of the ups and downs of baseball."
Barring a late move, the Bucs will begin the season with either on their bench or, more likely, eight relievers in their bullpen. Brentz, acquired from the Red Sox, batted .250 with a home run, six walks and 11 strikeouts this spring. He went 2-for-3 with a double in his last game on Friday.
"I've struggled worse. It's documented," he said. "Yeah, I didn't come in and bang out like we would have hoped to. … Felt like I was working through some things and got through them. I was starting to find a lot of barrels, just unfortunately not a lot of results at the beginning. It's part of it. It's spring. It's why we're here, to get ready for the season."
Brentz said he hoped to remain in the organization. He hit 31 homers and posted an .863 OPS for Triple-A Pawtucket last year, so he might draw interest from clubs in need of outfield depth. For now, all he can do is wait.
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"Apparently I've got a free weekend," he joked. "Go home. Go to the beach. … I'm probably going to go sightseeing. Keep the phone on."
Five strong for Musgrove
Right-hander Joe Musgrove held the Blue Jays to one run on five hits and a walk, with two strikeouts over five efficient innings in the Pirates' 7-4 win on Sunday at Dunedin Stadium. Musgrove threw only 65 pitches, including 45 strikes, so he worked an additional simulated inning in the bullpen after his outing.
"My control's there. I'm in the zone for the most part," Musgrove said. "I still feel pretty strong. I was happy with it."
Steve Pearce took one of Musgrove's few curveballs deep to left field, but Musgrove's main focus on Sunday was his fastball usage and location. He was satisfied with those results, particularly the movement on his sinker, and his changeup also impressed pitching coach Ray Searage.
Musgrove's spring began late due to right shoulder discomfort and last year's heavy workload. He will make one more outing in a Minor League game on Saturday before joining the Pirates rotation. Despite the delayed start, Musgrove is pleased with his progress.
"Considering the circumstances, and how it's gone for me and how it's been scheduled out, yeah, I think so," he said. "Ultimately I would have liked to have had another outing or two under my belt already going into my six-inning start. But for where we're at, I think I'm in a good spot."
Around the horn
• Left-hander Josh Smoker pitched a perfect eighth inning with two strikeouts against the Jays, while right-hander allowed two runs on three hits and two walks while recording two outs. Both bullpen candidates will pitch in a Minor League game at Pirate City on Monday.
's torrid spring continued as he went 2-for-3 with a home run (his fourth) and three RBIs. Cervelli is now batting .400 with a 1.317 OPS this spring.

• Right-hander A.J. Schugel, sidelined since Feb. 25 due to right shoulder discomfort, threw a bullpen session on Sunday. Though he's expected to contribute eventually, he won't be ready for Opening Day and is likely to start the season on the disabled list.
Up next
Right-hander will make a tune-up start as the Pirates close out their Spring Training home slate against the Phillies at 1:05 p.m. ET at LECOM Park. Also scheduled to pitch are setup man , , bullpen candidates and , and non-roster right-hander Bo Schultz, making his first Grapefruit League appearance less than a year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. The game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh. Fans can also watch live on MLB.TV.