Bucs Make A Flurry Of Minor League Deals

The Pittsburgh Pirates continued there efforts to upgrade talent in their minor league system by consummating several minor league deals over the past few days.

The Pirates announced on Monday they have claimed minor league right-handed pitcher Steven Jackson off waivers from the New York Yankees organization. To make room on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Jimmy Barthmaier was unconditionally released.

The 27-year-old Jackson was 0-0 with one save and a 1.88 ERA (14.1ip/3er) in seven games (one start) this year for the Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees before being designated for assignment on May 8. Jackson, who was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis, was scored upon twice in his six relief appearances with Scranton-Wilkes Barre before allowing one run in 4.0 innings in his start and final appearance on May 7 at Indianapolis.

Jackson was originally selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 10th round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft before being acquired by New York in a five-player trade that included current Pirates pitcher Ross Ohlendorf on January 9, 2007.

Last season Jackson posted a record of 4-3 with six saves and a 4.18 ERA (79.2ip/37er) in a combined 49 appearances (one start) with Double-A Trenton and Scranton-Wilkes Barre while also attending big league camp with the Yankees as a non-roster invitee. Following the All-Star break with Scranton-Wilkes Barre, the right-hander went 2-0 with three saves and a 0.87 ERA in 19 appearances.

Jackson played in college at Clemson University from 2001-04 before being drafted by the Diamondbacks. During the 2006 campaign with Single-A Tennessee, he ranked second among all Southern League pitchers with a 2.65 ERA while limiting right-handed batters to a .204 batting average (68-for-333) in his 24 appearances (24 starts). During his first full season in the Yankees organization in 2007, Jackson converted from a starter to a reliever and went a combined 4-9 with one save and a 5.40 ERA in 28 appearances (11 starts).

Earlier the Bucs acquired Eric Hacker, a minor league pitcher from the New York Yankees in exchange for reliever Romulo Sanchez.

New York, always crowded on the 40-man roster, designated Hacker for assignment eight days ago and, when it became clear that several teams were prepared to claim him off waivers, the Yankees opted to make a trade.

Hacker, 26, a right-hander, is coming off a strong 2008 in which he had a 2.43 ERA and a fine ratio of 115 strikeouts to 37 walks, split between Class A and AA in the Yankees system. This season, he had a 4.11 ERA in three Class AA starts, 7.88 ERA in three Class AAA starts.

He once had a reputation for a power arm, but his career was slowed by major injuries: He lost all of 2004 to reconstructive elbow surgery, all of 2006 to shoulder surgery.

"Eric Hacker is a starting pitching prospect with an interesting four-pitch mix that has brought success in his minor league career," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "He has missed time with injury but has been healthy the past two seasons, and we're pleased to add him to our system. He provides us with starting depth but has enough stuff to pitch from the bullpen if that's his best fit."

The Pirates optioned Hacker to Class AAA Indianapolis. To clear space on the 40-man roster, they transferred pitcher Phil Dumatrait from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day.

The Pirates acquired two minor leaguers over the weekend, outfielder Jeff Corsaletti from the Boston Red Sox and reliever Randy Newsom from the Cleveland Indians, for players to be named later or cash. Both will be assigned to Class AA Altoona. Corsaletti, 26, was batting .128 in 13 Class AAA games. Newsom, 27, had a 1.74 ERA in seven Class AA appearances, a 5.40 ERA in two Class AAA appearances.

"We'll never stop trying to stockpile talent," Huntington explained. "The two pitchers that we got from the Yankees one in a small trade and one in a waiver claim – both are in the first of three options and we think they can help major league teams. We've got some guys that are in their final option year and we don't have a ton of pitching at the upper levels, we got some guys that we're really excited about. We need to just continue to replenish our depth.

"The other two guys – Corsaletti from Boston and Newsom from Cleveland – they are more to just help build depth and help us compete at the minor league level with some outside chance that they could find their way to the big leagues.

On Monday the Pirates announced the signing of outfielder Daan Cornelissen, 17, who was playing for the Dutch team PSV Eindhoven.

"Tom Randolph our new evaluator in Europe felt strongly that this would be a good guy to add to our system," Huntington reported. "He had major league prospect value and we're excited to add him. Randolph has done a nice job for us – he recognized the shortstop from South Africa at MLB's academy and he's done some work through his part time scouts and came across this name and we saw him and liked him enough that we spent some money on him. He's going to come in and add to the system."

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