Lefty Steven Brault will stay in Triple-A bullpen as best path back to Pirates

August 12, 2018

Pirates reliever Steven Brault pitches against the Nationals on July 10, 2018, at PNC Park.

Having allowed 13 runs, 13 walks and 24 hits over his past 24 innings, Steven Brault was the obvious choice to send to Triple-A when the Pirates needed to clear a roster spot for reliever Keone Kela.

But with the bullpen now bereft of lefthanders, Brault is also an obvious choice to make his way back to Pittsburgh.

If he can figure things out in Indianapolis, that is.

“After about a 20-minute conversation we came up with a pretty good plan together with him having ownership of it,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

“I feel very good about the conversation. I think Steven feels good about the plan; he was looking forward to getting down there.”

A starter for 100 of his 103 prior minor-league games and when he first made the majors, Brault will stay in the Indianapolis bullpen. The rationale is two-fold: the Pirates have organizational depth at starting pitcher, and the only lefty currently in the Pirates’ bullpen is closer Felipe Vazquez.

“Basically we are going to go with more touches (initially),” Hurdle said. “I don’t see the benefit of stretching him back out. We’ve got (Nick) Kingham as a (spot) starter; we could really use an effective lefthanded reliever at the major-league level right now.

“And that was our conversation with Steven - how we can get him back on line with command being effective at this level? And we believe initially more touches, more frequent touches - maybe even every other day - with a different maybe working routine maybe in between (is best). So we still maintain the bullpen philosophy. That’s his best avenue to get back here.”

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