by Bill Passonno | CBSSports.com (3/18/2013) The Pittsburgh Pirates pared down their roster Monday, optioning pitcher Phil Irwin to Triple-A Indianapolis. Irwin was considered a darkhorse candidate to replace Francisco Liriano in the starting rotation in case the ailing left-hander was not ready for opening day.
The Pirates also reassigned pitchers Gerrit Cole, Brooks Brown, Kris Johnson, Kyle Waldrop and catcher Ali Solis to their minor-league camp. Cole, 22, is viewed as the team's top prospect and posted a 3.60 ERA with seven strikeouts in three games (two starts) this spring. The right-hander sped through the minors last season and could make his MLB debut later this year.
Johnson eyes spot with Pirates
by Bill Passonno | CBSSports.com (2/16/2013) After fizzling as a prospect in the Red Sox organization, pitcher Kris Johnson is hoping to land a spot in the Pirates rotation this season. Johnson, considered the darkhorse for the position among a long list of candidates, has failed to make an appearance in the majors after being the 40th overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft. He spent the 2012 season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis and posted a quality 3.19 ERA. "Every time he pitched," manager Clint Hurdle told MLB.com, "somebody would say, 'Who is that guy?' So you watched him. He's been challenged in the past, and he's grown into himself."