Bucs add outfielder Jones via waivers

Bucs add outfielder Jones via waivers

PITTSBURGH -- The count of outfielders on the Pirates 40-man roster sits at 10, at least for now, after the Bucs added Brandon Jones via a waiver claim on Tuesday. Atlanta had designated Jones for assignment last week in order to make room for free agent Eric Hinske.

After adding Jones, the Pirates then designated Steven Jackson for assignment once the club had to officially add outfielder Ryan Church to the roster later in the day. Though Church reached an agreement with the Pirates a week ago, that deal had not yet been confirmed by Major League Baseball and the Player's Association because of the influx of signings in the last few days. The contract was finally made official Tuesday night.

These roster moves, however, aren't expected to be the Pirates' last in the near future. The team remains close to reaching a deal with free-agent reliever Octavio Dotel, and another roster move would have to be cleared once Dotel signs.

The Pirates are known to be trying to construct a minor trade -- much like the one the team made in sending Brian Bixler to Cleveland on Monday -- in order to clear the necessary roster spot. If that doesn't happen, though, the Pirates will be forced to designate another player for assignment and potentially lose him on waivers.

It's possible that Jones, who does have an option remaining, could be involved in either scenario.

Should Jones remain in the organization, his addition increases the organization's depth at the outfield position. The left-handed-hitting outfielder made brief appearances in the Majors each of the past three seasons and was at one time considered one of Atlanta's more promising prospects. Baseball America ranked him as the Braves' fourth-best prospect heading into 2008.

All combined, Jones has a .257 batting average, one homer and 22 RBIs in 148 big league at-bats. He hit .281 in 107 games with Triple-A Gwinnett (Ga.) last season.

"In some cases players need a change of scenery to reach their potential and we thought this could be an opportunity for Brandon Jones to get that," general manager Neal Huntington said.

The Pirates now have 10 days to trade, release or outright Jackson to the Minors, though the right-hander would first have to clear waivers for the latter to occur. Jackson, who was expected to compete for one of the open bullpen spots, went 2-3 with a 3.14 ERA in 40 appearances for Pittsburgh last season.

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