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Phillies claim Nicasio off waivers from Pirates

Stassi, member of Opening Day roster, designated for assignment
MLB.com

MIAMI -- The Phillies claimed right-handed reliever Juan Nicasio off waivers from the Pirates on Thursday. To make room for him on its 40-man roster, Philadelphia designated first baseman/outfielder Brock Stassi for assignment.

Thursday is the deadline to acquire players who will be eligible for the postseason. Although the Phillies are well out of the playoff hunt, their claim prevented contenders such as the Brewers and Cardinals from adding needed bullpen depth.

MIAMI -- The Phillies claimed right-handed reliever Juan Nicasio off waivers from the Pirates on Thursday. To make room for him on its 40-man roster, Philadelphia designated first baseman/outfielder Brock Stassi for assignment.

Thursday is the deadline to acquire players who will be eligible for the postseason. Although the Phillies are well out of the playoff hunt, their claim prevented contenders such as the Brewers and Cardinals from adding needed bullpen depth.

"It's nice to get a quality pitcher," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "It'll be good to have him."

Nicasio, who turned 31 on Thursday, posted a 2.85 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 60 innings in the back of the Pirates' bullpen. He notched two saves and a team-high 21 holds, which is tied for sixth most in the Majors. His 65 appearances lead all big league pitchers.

Video: DET@PIT: Nicasio fans Martinez to record the save

While Nicasio is scheduled to join the club in Miami on Friday, Mackanin isn't sure how he'll use his new relief weapon. Hector Neris will remain the closer, though.

"I haven't seen him pitch other than against us. I like him, so we'll see," Mackanin said. "Neris right now, I think he's 16 for his last 16 save opportunities. So I'll continue to stay with Neris."

The Phillies will be responsible for the rest of Nicasio's $3.65 million salary, which comes out to about $600,000 for the last month of the season. Nicasio is set to hit free agency for the first time this offseason.

The bullpen has been a weak spot for the Phillies this year, as their relievers rank 25th -- 12th in the National League -- with a 4.57 ERA.

Stassi, 28, made his Major League debut on Opening Day but was only slashing .167/.278/.295 in 90 plate appearances. He last appeared in the big leagues on July 18.

Ben Weinrib is a reporter for MLB.com based in Cleveland.

Philadelphia Phillies, Juan Nicasio