DUNEDIN, Fla. —
Jonathan Sanchez and Brandon Inge will make the Pirates’ major league roster, and Sanchez will become the team's No. 4 starter, the Pirates said.
Both players signed minor league contracts this offseason and were eligible to opt out of those contracts Tuesday.
The Pirates have until Sunday to officially add them to the
40-man roster, at which point they will have to make a corresponding roster move.
Though the Pirates committed to keeping Inge, General Manager Neal Huntington said it was likely Inge will start the season on the disabled list as he deals with lingering soreness in his shoulder after being hit by a pitch March 14.
Sanchez, 30, signed a minor league deal with the Pirates while the team was negotiating with Francisco Liriano, who broke his non-throwing arm in the offseason.
After three strong seasons with the San Francisco Giants, Sanchez struggled last year with the Kansas City Royals and Colorado Rockies, posting a combined 8.07 ERA.
He has a 4.73 ERA this spring, buoyed by strong outings in his last three appearances.
Huntington said those two strong starts played a big part in the Pirates’ decision to keep him around.
The team still has one rotation spot to fill, and Huntington indicated the team had already made up its mind about who would take that spot.
But the Pirates will inform the players before publicizing the decision.
The candidates are Kyle McPherson, Jeff Locke and Jeanmar Gomez.
The Pirates signed Inge, 35, to a minor league deal shortly after pitchers and catchers reported to Bradenton. He underwent shoulder surgery in September that cut his season with the Oakland Athletics short.
He is hitting .162 in 13 games this spring with three runs and no RBIs.
The Pirates have 35 players active in major league camp and will likely trim that number to 25 by Thursday.