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RHP Noesí elects not to play; Kela not in camp

@adamdberry
July 8, 2020

PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Hector Noesí informed the Pirates on Wednesday that he has elected not to play this season. Noesí reported to the Pirates’ Summer Camp at PNC Park, which began last week, and had been working out with the team. Pittsburgh has not yet filled Noesí’s spot in its

PITTSBURGH -- Right-hander Hector Noesí informed the Pirates on Wednesday that he has elected not to play this season.

Noesí reported to the Pirates’ Summer Camp at PNC Park, which began last week, and had been working out with the team. Pittsburgh has not yet filled Noesí’s spot in its 60-man player pool.

“Definitely respect and appreciate his decision, but after talking to some family members, he just thought it was better for his situation to opt out,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “Definitely going to respect [players who make these decisions] and make sure that they’re supported in any way possible.”

The Pirates signed Noesí, 33, to a Minor League deal in early December and invited him to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee. The veteran right-hander made three appearances in the Grapefruit League, including two starts, and gave up four runs on seven hits with four strikeouts in five innings. At that point, he was ticketed to begin the season in the Triple-A Indianapolis rotation while serving as rotation depth in case of injuries in Pittsburgh.

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Pittsburgh now has two open spots in its 60-man player pool for this season. The Bucs planned on coming to camp with a full roster, but Edgar Santana’s suspension and Noesí’s decision have left them with 58 players.

“As of now, we are not going to fill that” spot left vacant by Noesí, Shelton said. “That’s not to say that in the coming days we may not fill that. But as of now, we’re not planning on filling it.”

Kela absent from workouts
Asked about the status of closer Keone Kela after Wednesday’s workout, Shelton revealed that Kela “was not on the field today” and “has not been on the field previously.”

Shelton previously stated that the 40 players who were expected to be in Pirates camp are present in Pittsburgh, but not necessarily all of them have been active in camp. Two of those absences were explained by Shelton’s announcement that reliever Blake Cederlind and outfielder Socrates Brito tested positive for COVID-19. Shelton also said the Pirates “definitely have dealt with some things” on the injury front, but did not provide more specifics.

Kela is Pittsburgh’s best reliever, and he was named the team’s closer early in Spring Training. The right-hander is also a pending free agent and, thus, the Pirates’ most intriguing trade chip if they’re not contending at the Aug. 31 Trade Deadline. Nonetheless, Shelton said he isn’t concerned that Kela has not taken the field yet.

“Not worried about that in the least bit,” Shelton said.

Setup man Kyle Crick has been participating in the team’s workouts, Shelton said, but he has not yet thrown live batting practice.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.