Notes: Olmedo claimed by Phillies

Notes: Olmedo claimed by Phillies

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Pirates are now down to one fewer option in their Spring Training search for a backup middle infielder after the Phillies claimed Ray Olmedo off waivers on Tuesday.

Olmedo had been designated for assignment on Sunday in order for the club to make room for Byung-Hyun Kim on the team's 40-man roster. However, the Pirates had been fairly confident that Olmedo would clear through waivers during the following 48-hour period, and that the utility infielder would return to camp and compete for a spot on the Major League roster.

"It was a risk that we took, but we felt signing Byung-Hyun Kim to a Major League contract was a greater benefit to our club than the risk," general manager Neal Huntington said. "Ray just added another option for that infield spot."

With Olmedo now gone, it appears that one of the five final bench spots will go to either Josh Wilson or Luis Rivas. Jorge Velandia could also be thrown into that mix.

Huntington's decision to put Olmedo rather than Wilson on waivers was based simply on the higher probability that Olmedo would go unclaimed. Because the Pirates received numerous amounts of feedback -- all positive -- after picking up Wilson during the Winter Meetings last December, Huntington feared that interest in Wilson could still be high.

The thought was the opposite when it came to Olmedo.

"Since we claimed Olmedo off waivers not too long ago, we thought that he might be able to make it through there again," said Huntington, who claimed Olmedo from Toronto on Feb. 1.

Olmedo's return, though, was never guaranteed. Not only was he going to have to clear waivers, but he would also have had the option of not accepting the team's decision to outright him to Triple-A since he has been outrighted to the Minors once already in his career.

Despite the loss of Olmedo, the Pirates still like their options. With Velandia, the Pirates have defensive reliability, while Rivas has impressed management with his athleticism and quality glove work. And then there's Wilson, who Huntington said seems to be the most balanced of the three when it comes to offensive production and defensive stability.

"I think, at various times, each has shown us something different that makes them stand out," Huntington said. "But right now it's too early to say that anyone has an upper hand."

Marte on schedule: Though he started late, Damaso Marte continues to work through his pitching program, with Tuesday being the next step toward being game-ready in a week.

Marte was initially scheduled to throw to hitters on Tuesday, but instead set up behind the screen near the bullpen and threw about 30 pitches with a hitter simply standing in the batter's box. That simulation accomplished the same purpose.

"We put in a hitter just to get that last little bit of expansion of what it takes to get it by the hitter," pitching coach Jeff Andrews said. "I wanted him just to see a hitter in there, get a visual. Contact isn't really important. It's more of seeing a hitter there and not having the cage."

Marte is scheduled to throw batting practice to hitters on Friday.

Contract talk: Huntington has reiterated that just because Kim has been signed to a Major League contract, there shouldn't be any assumption that the right-hander is a lock for one of the final four spots in the bullpen. Kim's contract reflects just that.

Though he signed for $850,000, only $300,000 of that money is guaranteed. As a result, if he is cut during Spring Training, the Pirates are not responsible for the entirety of the contract.

As for the incentives written into the contract, they total $1.15 million and are laid out like this: $75,000 for 35 relief appearances, $100,000 for 40 relief appearances, $175,000 for 45 relief appearances and $200,000 each for 50, 55, 60 and 65 relief appearances.

Kim will throw his first side session on Wednesday.

Bucs bits: The following nine pitchers threw side sessions on Tuesday: Juan Perez, Ian Snell, Jaret Wright, Jimmy Barthmaier, Sean Burnett, Matt Capps, Elmer Dessens, Casey Fossum and Mike Thompson. ... Doug Drabek, who won the Cy Young Award with the Pirates in 1990, was spotted at Pirate City on Tuesday. ... ESPN Radio (1250 AM) in Pittsburgh will continue broadcasting live from Bradenton for the rest of the week.

On deck: The Pirates will play Manatee Community College in their annual charity exhibition game at 12:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday at McKechnie Field. The Pirates have eight pitchers slated to take the mound, starting with Yoslan Herrera, who will pitch the first two innings of the game. He will be followed by Ronald Belisario, Marino Salas, Josh Sharpless, Dave Davidson, Jonah Bayliss, Daniel Moskos and Brian Rogers.

Half of the proceeds from the game will go to the Manatee Education Foundation, while Wakeland Elementary School, which is located directly across the street from Pirate City, will receive the other half.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.