Pirates notebook: The team makes tough cuts

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BRADENTON, Fla. — The Pirates made a sweeping, 11-player roster cut Tuesday that shed light on the plans for right field, and, to some degree, the bullpen.

Outfielder Jaff Decker was optioned to Class AAA Indianapolis, along with first baseman Andrew Lambo and sinkerballer Jared Hughes. The final 25-man roster is not likely to be set until after the exhibition games in Philadelphia this weekend.

"As hard as our decisions were … we’ve still got a few more really challenging decisions," said general manager Neal Huntington. "We may carry a few extra guys to Philadelphia and make our final call there."

The left-hand-hitting Decker was in the running to be at least the fourth outfielder and possibly part of the mix in right, which now will shared by Travis Snider and Jose Tabata.

Snider, who bats left-handed, has hit .366 this spring, with three doubles and one homer. Tabata, due to make $3 million this year, bats right-handed but has not fared well as reflected by a .205 average, one home run and two doubles.

"At first and in right, barring any changes, it’ll be a matchup type situation for [manager] Clint [Hurdle]," said Huntington.

Decker hit .250 with four doubles and consistently drew praise for his ability to play all three outfield positions.

"There’s not one guy that went down [Tuesday] that I don’t expect to see at some point in time during the season," said Hurdle. "That’s the most challenging day I’ve had professionally. It means we have strength and depth we never had before."

Hughes, with an option remaining, was the first man out of a crowded bullpen that must be trimmed further. Either Vin Mazzarro or Bryan Morris, both out of options, almost surely will be traded rather than have the Pirates face the risk of not getting something in return.

Hughes was asked to work on the consistency of his sinker and will be among the first recalled if injury strikes.

The Pirates also sent infielders Michael Martinez and Robert Andino, outfielder Chris Dickerson, catcher Omir Santos, and pitchers Jay Jackson, Daniel Schlereth, Zack Thornton and Adam Wilk to their minor league camp.

Worley joins organization

The Pirates picked up right-hander Vance Worley Tuesday from Minnesota in a minor league deal for cash. He went 1-5 in 10 starts with the Twins in 2013 and picked up 11 wins, 119 strikeouts in 21 starts for the Phillies in 2010.

More pitching updates

Francisco Liriano, slowed recently by a groin injury, will stay behind and throw a simulated game today in Bradenton, Fla. Huntington also indicated Edinson Volquez will remain at Pirate City to make an extra start. Volquez will throw a two- to three-inning simulated game at McKechnie Field today. Jeff Locke (oblique injury) threw three innings against the Pirates’ Class AAA team Tuesday, giving up no runs and no hits.

Jenn Menendez: jmenendez@post-gazette.com and Twitter: @JennMenendez.

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