Pimentel aims to pitch himself into Bucs' plans

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Stolmy Pimentel can control his fastball -- as he made a point of doing while pitching two scoreless innings with three strikeouts as the Blacks' starter in Tuesday's intrasquad game.

What the right-hander cannot control is his Pirates fate. Pimentel does appear to have the inside track for a spot on the staff by virtue of being out of options, meaning the Bucs would risk losing him by not keeping him as one of their 25.

As for what the role of the 24-year-old Dominican, who has started 147 of his 152 Minor League games, might be ...

"I can't control that," Pimentel said. "I've been a starter for seven years, but if they want to use me in the bullpen, it doesn't matter."

Manager Clint Hurdle is very high on Pimentel. One of the spring's big projects will be determining whether he could fill the type of swing role handled so well last season by Jeanmar Gomez, who was outstanding both in long relief (3.77 ERA in 26 games) and as a spot starter (2.80 ERA in eight starts, all of them Pittsburgh victories).

Actually, Pimentel feels there is one other thing he can control.

"I just want to compete and pitch as best as I can -- so I can make them make a decision," he said.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.