The Pirates added five minor league players to the 40-man roster today, protecting them from the Dec. 6 Rule 5 draft.
Catchers Tony Sanchez and Ramon Cabrera and right-handed pitchers Victor Black, Phil Irwin and Hunter Strickland were added to the 40-man roster, which now includes 39 players.
Today was the deadline for teams to set their 40-man rosters in advance of the Dec. 6 Rule 5 draft. The team can continue to modify the 40-man roster before the Rule 5 draft, but only those players added by today will be protected.
Sanchez, 24, was the fourth overall draft pick in the 2009 amateur draft. He is a career .268 hitter in the minor leagues and last season earned his first promotion to Class AAA. An above average defensive catcher, Sanchez has struggled at the plate since missing most of the 2010 season when he sustained a broken jaw after getting hit by two pitches.
Cabrera, 23, also earned his first promotion to Class AAA Indianapolis last season, joining the club for their playoffs. Signed as an international free agent in 2008, Cabrera is a career .292 hitter.
Black, 24, was a compensation pick in the first round of the 2009 amateur draft. He has a career 3.28 ERA in four seasons and went 2-3 with 13 saves last season for Class AA Altoona, posting a 1.25 ERA.
Irwin, 25, put together a strong enough season in Altoona to earn a late-season call-up to Indianapolis. He went 4-7 with a 2.93 ERA in 18 appearances, 16 starts, for Altoona and went 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA in four starts with Indianapolis. A 21st-round draft pick in 2009, Irwin has a career 3.02 ERA in four seasons.
The Pirates acquired Strickland, 24, in a trade that sent Adam LaRoche to the Boston Red Sox in 2009. He missed all of the 2011 season with a shoulder injury and underwent rotator cuff surgery in August 2011. In 33 appearances this season, between Altoona and Class A Bradenton, Strickland went 4-4 with a 3.70 ERA.
Michael Sanserino: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1722 or on Twitter @msanserino.