Pirates claim outfielder Paul off waivers

Pirates claim outfielder Paul off waivers

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates have made their second waiver claim in a week, taking outfielder Xavier Paul from the Dodgers on Tuesday. The Pirates added Paul to the 40-man roster by moving Scott Olsen from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. Olsen has been in extended spring training trying to build up arm strength.

Paul must also be put on the 25-man roster when he reports to Pittsburgh. The Pirates will wait until Paul gets here before making a corresponding roster move. Given that Paul is an outfielder, it would seem that either Steve Pearce or John Bowker will be sent down. Pearce has an option left, meaning the Pirates could send him to Triple-A. Bowker, on the other hand, does not. The absence of an option could work in Bowker's favor.

Paul has played in parts of three seasons with the Dodgers, accruing 146 at-bats and a .233 batting average. His only home run came in 2009. After making Los Angeles' Opening Day roster this year, Paul had three singles in 11 at-bats.

"We like the overall package and that package is what has allowed him to have success at the Minor League level," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "Our challenge is to help him get over that next big hurdle. A lack of consistent playing time is a challenge for nearly any young player, and 160 Major League plate appearances is a small sample size. We have some thoughts as to how we can help Xavier, but we want to allow him to settle into his new environment and gain a comfort level before we begin to look to make adjustments."

A fourth-round Draft pick in 2003, Paul played all three outfield positions in the Minors. In 203 Triple-A games, Paul batted .320 with 58 doubles, 23 homers and 32 stolen bases. He has enough speed to be a viable option as a pinch-runner for manager Clint Hurdle, who hasn't had a lot of speed to work with on his bench.

Paul has 72 hours to report to the club, meaning that he could join the Pirates as late as Friday. The team is in Pittsburgh through Thursday before beginning a six-game road trip through Colorado and San Diego.