PITTSBURGH -- Chris Leroux, it turns out, made all the roster decisions for the Pirates, the painful way. The young right-hander was diagnosed to have strained a pectoral muscle while pitching his final preseason inning in Tuesday's exhibition game in Philadelphia, forcing the Bucs to place him on the 60-day disabled list. That move freed a spot on the 40-man roster for veteran Juan Cruz -- the right-hander who nailed down a bullpen job as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training -- and enabled four younger players to resume breathing.
Jared Hughes made the season-opening roster as the seventh man in the bullpen, as did all three of the men who went down to the wire ostensibly fighting for two bench spots -- Josh Harrison, Yamaico Navarro and Matt Hague. To complete their pre-opener homework, the Pirates also formally placed both A.J. Burnett and Charlie Morton on the 15-day DL. Burnett's placement is retroactive to March 26, and Morton's to Thursday. That makes Morton eligible to be activated on April 13; the Bucs' first need for a No. 5 starter comes up April 15.
Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.