My parents came into town this weekend, so I'm a bit behind on the latest happenings (if you can call them that) in Pirate-land, and so I've got some catching up to do.
First, the Pirates outrighted Eric Hacker, Virgil Vasquez, and Steve Lerud off the 40-man roster on Friday, which brings the total on the 40-man to 36. None of these three should be surprising removals, Hacker and Vasquez are the typical Quad-A pitching depth that a team like the Pirates needs while Lerud had an awful year in Altoona after being added to the roster last year. That seems to leave a lot of open roster space, but according to Buccofans list of Rule 5 eligible players, the Pirates will have to add Brad Lincoln and Michael Dubee to the 40-man to keep them from being picked in the Rule 5, while Gorkys Hernandez and Bryan Morris are also eligible. They're both probably unlikely to be picked in the draft (especially Morris), but I'm guessing the Pirates will protect Hernandez if they thought highly enough to trade for him less than six months ago.
Meanwhile, Jose Tabata and Chase D'Arnaud both racked up two hits in the AFL Showcase on Saturday, but Danny Moskos got destroyed in his one inning of work. I was only half-watching the game, but Charlie has a good writeup of the disastrous inning. That does underscore why offensive results from the AFL can't be taken seriously, though. Besides a few high draft picks from June, most teams are sending pitchers like Moskos and Donnie Veal (who still looks excellent) to get more work and not risking giving extra work to top prospects. As a result, Jose Tabata's .366 average is only good for fifth in the league. It's good that Tabata's hitting well, but context is always important.