BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates trimmed their Spring Training roster on Tuesday morning, cutting 11 players and bringing clarity to the remaining competition for their Opening Day roster.Pittsburgh optioned three players to Triple-A Indianapolis: right-hander Nick Kingham, infielder Max Moroff and super-utility man Christopher Bostick. The Bucs also reassigned eight
BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates trimmed their Spring Training roster on Tuesday morning, cutting 11 players and bringing clarity to the remaining competition for their Opening Day roster.
Pittsburgh optioned three players to Triple-A Indianapolis: right-hander Nick Kingham, infielder Max Moroff and super-utility man Christopher Bostick. The Bucs also reassigned eight players to Minor League camp: outfielder Todd Cunningham, infielders Pablo Reyes, Erich Weiss and Eric Wood, catcher Jackson Williams and right-handers Brett McKinney, Casey Sadler and John Stilson.
"With younger players that are getting ready for their seasons, we're starting to run out of at-bats as the regulars are going deeper into games," general manager Neal Huntington said. "Rather than carry too many guys and give them one inning here or three innings there or one at-bat, we wanted to get some guys out."
The moves eliminate Moroff and Bostick from the battle for the Pirates' final bench spot -- if such a spot exists on Opening Day. The Bucs may break camp with 13 pitchers and 12 position players, Huntington said. The remaining candidates for such a spot would include out-of-options outfielder Bryce Brentz, infielder/outfielder Jose Osuna and outfielder Jordan Luplow.
The Pirates begin the season playing under American League rules in Detroit, so they may break camp with one group, then adjust accordingly when they return home to PNC Park for the second series. Huntington said the versatility of their current reserves -- corner infielder David Freese and super-utility men Sean Rodriguez and Adam Frazier -- may allow them to carry an extra reliever the first week of the season.
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"The ultimate question is what has the biggest impact," Huntington said. "That extra ability to pinch-hit in Osuna, Brentz or Luplow's case, or the ability to maybe give us another inning in the middle [of games], or allow [manager Clint Hurdle] to go get a starter earlier, or to get a reliever earlier if we're struggling, or to protect guys early as we're coming out of the gate.
"Some of these decisions will be out of the players' control. It will just be fit on the roster and what decision we ultimately decide to go with, but they can also help that by how they play and how they go about it."
Moroff figures to be among the Pirates' first callup considerations if they need an infielder early in the season. For now, he will join a crowded Indianapolis infield that also includes top prospects Kevin Newman and Kevin Kramer, along with Bostick, who can play second base and all three outfield spots.
"We like Max a lot and feel he might help this Major League team sooner than later," Huntington said. "We do like Max's switch-hit [ability], but want to let him continue to grow and develop."
Kingham, the Bucs' No. 13 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, will provide rotation depth in Triple-A, and he could be called upon if they need a spot start. He likely slots in eighth on their rotation depth chart behind the five who will open the season as starters -- Ivan Nova, Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl, Trevor Williams and Joe Musgrove -- and Steven Brault and Tyler Glasnow, who should break camp as long relievers.
"He has Major League weapons and [is] a guy we have confidence in to make Major League starts or come out of the bullpen," Huntington said of Kingham.
The Pirates now have 37 active players in Major League camp, including five non-roster invitees. They have 20 pitchers, four catchers, eight infielders and five outfielders.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.