Pirates pick up righty Blanton from Royals

Pirates pick up righty Blanton from Royals

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates picked up veteran right-hander Joe Blanton late Wednesday night, acquiring him from the Royals in exchange for cash considerations.

Blanton, 34, is expected to join the Pirates before Thursday night's series opener against the Reds at Great American Ball Park. Pittsburgh will make a corresponding move after Blanton officially joins the roster.

Kansas City designated Blanton for assignment Tuesday after trading for the Reds' Johnny Cueto and quickly worked out a deal with Pittsburgh.

Blanton pitched well in a limited role for the Royals, bouncing back from a tough 2013 and a year off in 2014 as he went 2-2 with a 3.89 ERA in 41 2/3 innings over 15 appearances.

He has made four starts this season, recording a 5.30 ERA and allowing 21 hits in 18 2/3 innings. But he's been effective as a reliever, striking out 23 batters and walking only three in 23 innings while logging a 2.74 ERA. He fired 3 2/3 scoreless innings in a relief appearance against the Pirates last week.

The Pirates have been on the lookout for middle-relief help leading up to Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. Blanton should help bolster their starting pitching depth, which has taken a hit following injuries to Brandon Cumpton, Nick Kingham, Jameson Taillon and Casey Sadler.

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.