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Pirates nab Brentz from Red Sox for cash

Outfielder slugged 31 home runs in Triple-A in 2017
MLB.com @adamdberry

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates added another player to their outfield competition on Tuesday afternoon by acquiring Bryce Brentz from the Red Sox.

Pittsburgh traded cash to Boston for Brentz, a 29-year-old who hit 31 home runs for Triple-A Pawtucket last season. Brentz made his Major League debut for the Red Sox against the Pirates in 2014 -- his first hit was a double off Francisco Liriano -- and played 25 games in '16, posting an overall .287/.311/.379 line with one homer in 90 career MLB plate appearances.

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates added another player to their outfield competition on Tuesday afternoon by acquiring Bryce Brentz from the Red Sox.

Pittsburgh traded cash to Boston for Brentz, a 29-year-old who hit 31 home runs for Triple-A Pawtucket last season. Brentz made his Major League debut for the Red Sox against the Pirates in 2014 -- his first hit was a double off Francisco Liriano -- and played 25 games in '16, posting an overall .287/.311/.379 line with one homer in 90 career MLB plate appearances.

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Brentz spent all of last season in Triple-A, where he slashed .271/.334/.529 while setting a career high in homers and driving in 85 runs. He recently became expendable for the Red Sox, who needed to clear a 40-man roster spot to fit free-agent signing J.D. Martinez.

Brentz, a first-round Draft pick in 2010, was out of options last spring and didn't make the Red Sox's Opening Day roster, but Boston was able to designate him for assignment and keep him in the Minors when he went unclaimed. Before the Red Sox agreed to a deal with Martinez, Brentz figured to make the roster as a reserve outfielder.

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It's unclear what role Brentz might serve for Pittsburgh, if he makes the Opening Day roster, but as a right-handed hitter who has played left and right field, he could share time with the lefty-swinging Adam Frazier in left or back up Gregory Polanco in right. Brentz posted a .279/.380/.577 line against left-handers in Triple-A last season.

"We felt he made some strides last year, particularly when it comes to left-handed pitching," Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said in November.

To make room for Brentz on the 40-man roster, the Pirates placed rehabbing Rule 5 Draft pick Nick Burdi (Tommy John surgery) on the 60-day disabled list.

Around the horn
??? Outfielder Daniel Nava was held out of Tuesday's workout due to lower back discomfort, the Pirates announced. He is being treated and evaluated by the club's training staff. Nava, who turns 35 on Thursday, missed time during the second half of last season while recovering from a lower back strain. A non-roster invitee, Nava has been viewed as a favorite to lock down a reserve role on the Opening Day roster.

??? Right-hander Daniel Hudson (sprained right ankle) pitched in the bullpen during Tuesday's workout after missing each of his scheduled throwing sessions last week. He worked alongside non-roster right-hander Bo Schultz, who is less than a year removed from Tommy John surgery.

??? Manager Clint Hurdle said there has been "no decision made" regarding where outfielder Jordan Luplow will start the season, but the 24-year-old will have a chance to secure a spot on the Opening Day roster after making his Major League debut last season.

"The opportunity [for Luplow] to make the club in Spring Training is real," Hurdle said. "Depending on the personnel we have here, if it doesn't happen, there will be an opportunity to gain more at-bats. ??? We saw some consistent development at every level."

Luplow began last year in Minor League camp and stormed through Double-A and Triple-A, slashing a combined .302/.381/.527 with 23 home runs in 470 plate appearances. Given his success and the Pirates' dearth of outfielders, Luplow was called up in late July of 2017 and again in late August. He hit just .205 with a .660 OPS for Pittsburgh at the Major League level last season.

Luplow, also a right-handed hitter, could be the player most directly affected by the acquisition of Brentz, if the newly acquired outfielder winds up breaking camp with the Pirates.

??? After Tuesday's workout, Pirates Charities hosted a Miracle League Fantasy Camp for children with special needs at the Miracle League of Manasota Field. Among those in attendance: Pirates chairman Bob Nutting, team president Frank Coonelly, general manager Neal Huntington, front-office staff, coaches and players. The Pirates donated $22,000 last year through the Pirates Charities Miracle League initiative to assist with the resurfacing of the Manasota field.

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

Pittsburgh Pirates, Bryce Brentz