CHICAGO -- Speaking to reporters on Sunday, as the clock was running out on Vin Mazzaro's 10-day limbo period, general manager Neal Huntington said he was "very surprised" that a trade had not yet materialized for the right-hander.
The Pirates viewed Mazzaro a valuable relief pitcher for whom they simply had no room, and they designated him for assignment on March 29. Without any movement within the 10-day period, the team would then have to expose him on waivers.
Mazzaro passed through those waivers Tuesday -- to the even bigger surprise of the Pirates, who subsequently outrighted him to Triple-A Indianapolis. Mazzaro has three days to accept the assignment, or decline and hope to land a big league job elsewhere.
Manager Clint Hurdle did not sound optimistic that Mazzaro would accept -- and thus endow the Bucs with a valuable relief arm in reserve.
"I'll give him a call [Wednesday]. He'll have a decision to make shortly," Hurdle said. "Yeah, if he stayed, it'd be excellent for us. I just want him to get an opportunity. It's kinda hard to figure out why he doesn't have a big league job."
In 2013, when he made the full-time conversion from starting to relief, Mazzaro posted a 2.81 ERA in 57 games and 73 2/3 innings. He also averaged a career-best 93 mph on fastballs.
During that 10-day holding period, Hurdle went to bat for Mazzaro.
"I reached out to a few people," said Hurdle, implying other teams' personnel, "and spoke to what he was able to do with us. I tried to help him along. For whatever reason, there wasn't a fit anyone was comfortable with. Not everything in this game you can figure out; you can put this one in that box. We'll move on and wish him well."
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.