BRADENTON, Fla. -- The next visitor in the Pirates' Spring Training camp will be the Grim Reaper -- as old-timers referred to the annual rite of cutting players. Before the weekend is out, possibly two sets of trims will reduce the 49 players still in big-league camp.
That number includes 21 pitchers, including five non-roster invitees, several of whom could be reassigned and/or released even prior to Friday afternoon's game against the Rays.
If the tentative lineup for that game is any indication, moves affecting position players could soon follow. Whether by coincidence or by design, that lineup is comprised almost exclusively of players on the bubble:
Alex Presley CF; Jose Tabata LF; Felix Pie RF; Brandon Inge 2B; Brad Hawpe 1B; Josh Harrison 3B; Michael McKenry C; Ivan De Jesus SS; Jeanmar Gomez P.
Of interest, Inge and Hawpe both can opt out of their Minor League deals on Tuesday if not placed on the 40-man Major League roster. Left-hander Jonathan Sanchez,who started Thursday night's game against the Orioles, gets to make the same decision this Sunday.
After this weekend, the Bucs will have only six games remaining in Florida. They will break camp and head north next Thursday.
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.