Pittsburgh Pirates News: Sam Howard Activated, Optioned to Triple-A


Wednesday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates activated a relief pitcher off the 10-day injured list and optioned him to Triple-A Indianapolis

During Wednesday afternoon’s 4-2 loss against the Milwaukee Brewers, the Pittsburgh Pirates reported a roster move. This move was activating left-handed reliever Sam Howard from the 10-day injured list and optioning him to Triple-A Indianapolis.

This move did come as a bit of a surprise. Last season Howard was a mainstay in the Pirate bullpen when healthy. Furthermore, all signs pointed toward the Pittsburgh Pirates optioning Roansy Contreras to Triple-A when Howard was ready to return.

When Contreras was promoted to the majors it was due to Duane Underwood Jr. being placed on the injured list and Contreras being the lone healthy pitcher on the 40-man roster. Many thought the Pirates would want to get Contreras back to Triple-A as soon as they could to get him back into a starting role, stretching him out to join the Pirate rotation in the near future.

Additionally, Contreras needs to spend somewhere in the range of 20-22 more days in the minors this season in order for the Pirates to earn a 7th year of team control. Due to this it would have made sense for Contreras to be optioned to Triple-A when Howard got healthy to re-start this clock. Odds are, Contreras will now return to Indianapolis when active rosters drop from 28 players to 26 at the end of the month.

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Howard has pitched 66 innings in 76 appearances for the Pirates the past two seasons. He owns a 5.05 ERA, 14.2% walk rate, 30.1% strikeout rate, and has allowed home runs at a rate of 1.50 HR/9 in these two seasons. Even though Howard has been optioned to Triple-A it appears to be a safe bet that he will re-join the Pirate bullpen at some point this season.