The Pirates have addressed a need by claiming Justin Thomas off of waivers. Thomas pitched for the Mariners during this past season, and more importantly is a left handed pitcher.
One has to think that Thomas has an inside track to make the Pirate bullpen in 2010. Currently the seven spots are probably Matt Capps, Joel Hanrahan, Jesse Chavez, Jeff Karstens, Phil Dumatrait, and Evan Meek with one spot up for grabs. The addition of Thomas either rounds out the Pirate bullpen or puts Phil Dumatrait's slot in jeapordy. Dumatrait showed promise as a starter two seasons ago before injury ended it. He came back at the end of this season and was nothing short of awful out of the pen. Perhaps, the Pirates might want to put Dumatrait back to a starter, or perhaps they are done with him, or maybe they just want to give themselves a few options. Thomas would be a more natural bullpen pitcher who has major league bullpen experience.
Let us also not forget that the Pirates claimed Anthony Claggett at the very end of the season off of waivers from the Yankees. One would expect he might compete for a job as well, but he is a right handed pitcher. Eric Hacker, who was claimed at the beginning of 09, was brought up in the September call ups, and Steven Jackson pitched some out of the bullpen last year as well.
Thus, it is my guess that Dumatrait now has competition for his slot and one open spot in the pen remains.
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