The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced they have claimed right-handed pitcher Jeremy Hefner off waivers from the San Diego Padres and catcher Brian Jeroloman off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. The Pirates have also outrighted catcher Matt Pagnozzi to Triple-A Indianapolis. The announcement was made by Pirates Senior Vice President, General Manager Neal Huntington.
The 25-year-old Hefner spent the entire 2011 season with Triple-A Tucson and went 9-7 with a 4.98 ERA and 120 strikeouts in a team-high 28 starts. He also led Tucson with 157.1 innings pitched and tied for eighth among Pacific Coast League pitchers in that department. In addition, Hefner tied for sixth in the league in strikeouts and shared the team lead in wins.
Hefner was originally selected by San Diego in the fifth round of the 2007 First-Year Player Draft and has made 120 of his 131 professional appearances as a starting pitcher. He went 11-8 with a 2.95 ERA in 28 starts with Double-A San Antonio in 2010, ranking second in the Texas League in ERA, fourth in strikeouts (115) and leading the league in innings pitched (167.2). For his efforts in 2010, Hefner was named to the Texas League’s mid- and post-season All-Star teams.
In his five pro seasons, Hefner has gone 46-34 with a 3.84 ERA (688.2ip/294er) and 606 strikeouts. He was named San Diego’s minor league Pitcher-of-the-Year in 2008 after going 10-5 with a 3.34 ERA in 30 total games (25 starts) between Class-A Fort Wayne and Class-A Lake Elsinore. Hefner won a career-high 14 games while pitching with Lake Elsinore in 2009. Jeroloman, 26, spent the 2011 campaign with Triple-A Las Vegas and hit .240 (65-for-271) with two home runs and 26 RBI in 79 games (78 at catcher and one as the DH).
A member of the 2010 Eastern League mid-season All-Star team, Jeroloman produced a .261 batting average, seven homers and 33 RBI in 81 games with New Hampshire that year before batting .316 in seven games with Las Vegas after a late-season promotion.
Originally selected by Toronto in the sixth round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Florida University, Jeroloman was named to the Florida State League mid-season All-Star team in 2007 and was also the starting catcher in the 2008 Eastern League All-Star Game.
During his collegiate career, Jeroloman broke every Florida Gator defensive record, including the national record for the most runners thrown out in a single season and career. In his final season with Florida in 2006, he was named the Defensive Player-of-the-Year by Louisville Slugger and the Defensive Catcher-of-the-Year by Wilson and Easton.
Pagnozzi, 28, was claimed off waivers from Colorado on 9/14/11 and went 2-for-8 with an RBI in five games (two starts) with the Piartes during the month of September.