BRADENTON, Fla. -- Right-hander Nick Kingham and catcher Elias Diaz, two of the more impressive prospects in the Pirates' camp, were optioned Friday morning to Triple-A Indianapolis.
The moves were necessary as Opening Day nears to ration more playing time to players the Bucs will count on in 2015, and for Kingham and Diaz to ramp up their own work in Pirate City as they try to position themselves to provide supporting depth later in the season.
Kingham topped off a satisfying Spring Training with two shutout innings in Thursday's Grapefruit League game against the Orioles. The 23-year-old right-hander allowed three hits and one unearned run in six spring innings.
"There are a lot of reasons for us to like Nick," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "He's made pitches, hit the [catcher's] glove. And he's had good poise and rhythm, so he's been good."
With the loss of Brandon Cumpton to Tommy John surgery, Kingham will be considered one of the first responders if the Pirates need help in the rotation.
Diaz hit .438 (7-for-16) while confirming reports of strong defense.
"He's done nothing but continue to do well," Hurdle said. "He continues to give us a lot of reasons to think he's going to be able to impact our club in the future."