The Pirates have designated right-hander Austin Brice for assignment and optioned lefty Cam Vieaux to Triple-A Indianapolis, per a team announcement. That pair of moves creates space for right-hander Yerry De Los Santos to return from the Covid-related injured list and for newly acquired southpaw Manny Banuelos to be added to the active roster.
Brice spent a couple weeks in the majors, having been selected to the roster in late June. Signed to a minor league deal over the winter, the 30-year-old earned a brief look with a strong showing in Indianapolis. Across 26 2/3 innings, Brice posted a solid 3.04 ERA while striking out a lofty 27.2% of opposing hitters and inducing grounders on more than half the batted balls he allowed. Since adding him to the MLB staff, Pittsburgh has deployed him on only two occasions for low-leverage relief work.
While a limited look, that did mark Brice’s seventh consecutive year stepping onto a major league mound. He’s also played for the Marlins (a pair of separate stints), Reds and Red Sox. He’s typically racked up grounders at a solid clip and sports a fastball in the mid-90s, but he’s generally had issues keeping runs off the board at the highest level. Brice has allowed fewer than four earned runs per nine innings just once in a season, and he owns a 5.16 ERA through 165 2/3 career MLB innings.
The Pirates will presumably try to send Brice through waivers over the coming days. His quality Triple-A numbers may earn him a look from another team, but he is out of minor league option years. That means any team that claims him would have to keep him on their active roster or designate him for assignment themselves. Brice cleared outright waivers twice last season with Boston, meaning he’ll have the right to refuse an assignment back to Indianapolis in favor of minor league free agency if he goes unclaimed again.
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