The Pirates and Jody Gerut yesterday avoided a grievance hearing by reaching an agreement that will send the outfielder to the team's spring-training complex in Bradenton, Fla., where he will resume baseball-related activities.
"I'm very pleased," Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield said last night. "We're very much looking forward to Jody being a member of the Pirates' organization in 2006 and beyond."
Littlefield said Gerut will report to Bradenton "in a few days." Gerut has done very little "baseball-related activities" since March 31, the day the Pirates sent him to minor-league camp. Several hours after that assignment, Gerut called Littlefield and told him his right knee was bothering him.
There had been no indication of any physical problems with Gerut to that point. He went through a full spring training and reported no trouble with his knee to the Pirates' medical staff. The Pirates considered Gerut a healthy player. Gerut received a second opinion and decided he needed surgery on his right knee.
A week ago, the Pirates and Gerut agreed that he had patella tendinitis in his right knee. The Pirates, however, felt surgery wasn't necessary.
The Pirates then placed Gerut on their minor-league restricted list, meaning he would not be paid -- his contract is worth $875,000 this year -- and that he would not accrue major-league service time and would have to pay any and all expenses connected with the surgery.
The players' union filed a grievance, and a hearing was scheduled for yesterday in Pittsburgh. The mutual agreement made the hearing and the surgery moot.
Littlefield said Gerut will be paid his salary and that Gerut will rejoin Class AAA Indianapolis. When he might rejoin the Indians isn't known.
"He has to get himself in baseball shape," Littlefield said.
"We hope it's sooner rather than later. It will be based on the medical view and the baseball view."
The Pirates acquired Gerut, 28, from the Chicago Cubs July 31 for outfielder Matt Lawton.
Gerut had 18 at-bats before going on the disabled list Aug. 11 because of patella tendon irritation in his right knee.