Bucs outright Hutchison, lean on young arms

Bucs outright Hutchison, lean on young arms

CINCINNATI -- Coming into the year, Drew Hutchison had a shot to crack the Pirates' Opening Day rotation. When they determined that he wouldn't end the season in Pittsburgh, the Pirates effectively cut ties with Hutchison.

Now off Pittsburgh's 40-man roster, Hutchison -- the Pirates' lone return for Francisco Liriano and two prospects in a trade last July -- will likely declare himself a free agent after the World Series, general manager Neal Huntington said Sunday.

"Knowing we were probably moving on in the offseason, we wanted to make sure we gave innings to the guys who are either going to be here next year or who have been contributors in some way to this year's club," Huntington said.

Hutchison, 27, spent the entire year in Triple-A and finished with a 9-9 record and 3.56 ERA in 28 appearances. The Pirates have only used seven starters this season, and it quickly became apparent that their younger arms had passed Hutchison on the depth chart.

Rather than wait until the offseason to non-tender Hutchison, who earned $2.3 million this season, the Pirates ran him through outright waivers, which he cleared, at the end of Indianapolis' season.

"It was more things beyond Drew's control. We traded for him with the idea that he was a controllable, young starter that could fill a rotation spot for years to come," Huntington said. "We just also decided this year that the growth and development of our guys put them ahead of him. We may regret that decision in three years. Drew may bounce back and be the guy that we traded for, but we felt like we had guys that we wanted to give the innings to at the Major League level ahead of him."

Around the horn
Francisco Cervelli (left quad) and Starling Marte (left shoulder and finger) remained sidelined on Sunday. Manager Clint Hurdle said the Pirates will speak with Cervelli on Monday regarding his availability the rest of the season. Huntington said the Pirates won't push either player, but they will play if they return to full health.

• The Pirates would like to see Tyler Glasnow make another start after he rejoined the rotation and struggled Wednesday in Milwaukee. It's unclear when that will happen, however, and it may be dependent upon the status of Ivan Nova's sore right calf. If Nova makes his next scheduled start, Glasnow's next appearance could come out of the bullpen, Huntington said.

"That doesn't mean we're turning him into a reliever. It just means the next touch for him might be out of the 'pen," Huntington said. "We'll see how the rotation falls together the final part of the season."

• Huntington said the Pirates are still working with top prospect Austin Meadows to map out a plan for his offseason. Hamstring and oblique strains limited Meadows to 81 games in the Minors this season, so he may play winter ball to make up for lost time.

• Shortstop prospect Cole Tucker, who ended the season on the disabled list with a fractured left hand, may heal in time to take part in the Arizona Fall League.

"We'll do as much conditioning as we can to keep his legs and his non-injured arm intact, then we'll move into baseball conditioning and see how much Fall League calendar we have left," Huntington said.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.