ST. LOUIS -- The Pirates added to their bullpen depth on Monday, acquiring right-hander Johnny Barbato from the Yankees for a player to be named later or cash.
Barbato, 24, was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. Designated for assignment by the Yankees on Wednesday, Barbato now has a spot on the Pirates' 40-man roster.
The Yankees stretched out Barbato as a starter this spring. He will report to Indianapolis as a reliever, and the Pirates will determine his ideal role as they move forward.
Barbato appeared in 13 games as a rookie for the Yankees last season, going 1-2 with a 7.62 ERA after cracking their Opening Day roster. He allowed 13 hits, including two homers, and five walks while striking out 15 in 13 innings. He made one four-inning start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre this season before being removed from New York's 40-man roster.
A sixth-round pick of the Padres in 2010, Barbato was traded to the Yankees in '14 for reliever Shawn Kelley. He posted a 2.61 ERA in 48 1/3 innings over 31 appearances in Triple-A last year.
The move bolsters the Bucs' organizational pitching depth, which took a hit after they released veteran Jared Hughes (now with the Brewers) and sent Rule 5 Draft pick Tyler Webb back to the Yankees at the end of Spring Training. The Pirates prefer to have at least two multiple-inning relievers in their bullpen, and Barbato appears to fit that profile.
Pittsburgh's bullpen is set for now, with veteran left-hander Antonio Bastardo the only reliever who has struggled to begin the season. The Pirates have a handful of other bullpen options available on their 40-man roster, if a need arises, including Triple-A right-handers A.J. Schugel and Pat Light.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.