Second deadline could provide roster boost for Pirates

MILWAUKEE -- General manager Neal Huntington said the Pirates will be aggressive this week when the final wave of players become available via waiver trades, but made no promise of landing an impact player.

"It could be a real active period. I don't have a real feel for whether we'll get somebody or not, but it won't be for a lack of claiming, that's for sure," Huntington said. "We're about to hit that final wave. Clubs that weren't sure if they were in or out, they held onto their players and now they'll put them through, as well as the teams that are in it. They'll put their guys through this week."

Not an hour after Huntington's comments, the Pirates announced they claimed left-handed reliever Bobby LaFromboise off waivers from San Diego and optioned him to Class AAA Indianapolis.

LaFromboise, 28, has spent this season with Class AAA El Paso, where he went 1-2 with three saves and a 4.75 ERA in 58 relief appearances.

He made his major league debut last year with the Seattle Mariners and had 10 total appearances.

To clear space on the 40-man roster, the Pirates designated infielder Tommy Field for assignment.

The team's needs this August are somewhat less glaring than they were a year ago when they were searching for a right fielder with a strong bat and got Marlon Byrd from the New York Mets.

Some would argue there is a clear need for bullpen help, though perhaps not as necessary as a bat or two last year.

"A year ago it was pretty obvious we could use a right fielder given the production we were getting out there," Huntington said. "Right now, could we use somebody in our bullpen? Could we use somebody in our rotation? Could we use somebody in our lineup? Could we use somebody on our bench? The answer is we could certainly upgrade any one of those four spots. It's hard to do. So it's kind of a case-by-case basis."

Waiver trades can be made until Sunday's deadline to lock rosters, but they are more complicated than straight-up trades that can happen before the non-waiver deadline July 31.

"You place a claim on a player that you hope to get and a player you think you might get," Huntington said. "And then there are other players you think you have no chance to get, but you're preventing anyone behind you to getting them, as well. It's all part of the strategy."

Jenn Menendez and Twitter @JennMenendez.

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