TAMPA, Fla. -- Slowly but surely, the makeup of the Pirates' bullpen is beginning to enjoy some clarity.
One day after three relievers were cut from big league camp, Brian Burres became the latest bullpen candidate to be called into manager Clint Hurdle's office. Burres, who didn't allow a run in four of his five outings this spring, was subsequently informed on Saturday morning that he had been optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis.
"I'm going to go down there and keep myself as ready as I can be for the team if it needs me," Burres said before leaving the McKechnie Field clubhouse. "The goal is still the same. I just have to do it from somewhere else now."
Burres will start for Indianapolis in order to stay ready should the Pirates need a spot starter in Pittsburgh at any point during the year. The left-hander had been extending himself all spring in order to prepare for the possibility of joining the rotation at the start of the season.
Now, it would be Jeff Karstens who would step in to start should James McDonald (left side soreness) not be ready to make his first regular-season start, which is scheduled for April 5.
With Burres out of the bullpen mix, the Pirates have three relievers -- Garrett Olson, Chris Leroux and Mike Crotta -- competing for two open spots. Olson is likely to win one of those two jobs, given that the Pirates have no other left-handers in the 'pen.