The Pittsburgh Pirates may carry a 12-man pitching staff and no utility infielder in order to protect a roster spot for rookie pitcher Miguel Batista, manager Jim Leyland said Saturday.
Batista, selected from Montreal in the Rule 5 draft last December, must remain with the Pirates all season or be offered back to the Expos. The Pirates are short on pitching prospects and want to retain Batista, 21, whose fastball has been clocked at 95 mph.Batista hasn't pitched above Class A and has control problems, so he likely won't be used in any game-deciding situations.
"It's no secret what we're trying to do, we're trying to hide him for a year," Leyland said. "We're going to try to have our cake and eat it, too - to protect him and still try to win the division. Is he ready to pitch in the major leagues? No. But we're going to try it and see if we can get by."
"It's an organizational decision to try to play for the future."