Pittsburgh Pirates: Predicting the Next Roster Moves

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 15: Yoshi Tsutsugo #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on May 15, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 15: Yoshi Tsutsugo #25 of the Pittsburgh Pirates in action during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on May 15, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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May 12, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Duane Underwood Jr. pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during the ninth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
May 12, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Duane Underwood Jr. pitches against the Cincinnati Reds during the ninth inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Duane Underwood Jr. activated off the COVID IL, Austin Brice optioned to the minors

Duane Underwood Jr. is currently on the COVID IL. When a player returns from the COVID IL they must be put back on the 40-man roster. However, as was mentioned with Newman, the Pirates have open spots on their 40-man roster. Due to this, the lone move that would be needed to activate Underwood Jr. is to option a pitcher to the minors, look for this pitcher to be Austin Brice.

This was actually the second IL stint of the season for Underwood Jr. He also hit the IL after suffering an injury on Opening Day against the St. Louis Cardinals. These IL stints have slowed down what looked like could have been a breakout season for Underwood Jr. who has seen an uptick in stuff this season.

Underwood Jr. has pitched 17 innings for the Pirates, posting a 4.24 ERA and a 2.16 FIP. He has not allowed a home run, walked 9.6% of batters faced and has struck out 26.0% of opposing batters. Underwood Jr. has limited opposing batters to an average exit velocity of 85.7 MPH, league average is 88.4 MPH, and a 2.1% barrel rate, league average is 6.7%. So, Underwood Jr., when healthy, certainly has looked like a pitcher turning a corner this season.

Bucs Suffer Gut Punch Loss Against the Nats. dark. Next

Do not let Underwood Jr.’s ERA fool you, he has pitched well this season. Getting him back in the fold should be a big boost for Derek Shelton’s bullpen. The Pirates could have used Underwood Jr. in any of their past four games, and if they would have had him they likely would not have gone 0-4 in those games.

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