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Pirates Transactions

Pirates Make Pair of Minor League Transactions

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Milwaukee Brewers starting pitcher Eric Lauer (52) against the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 20, 2023, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The Pirates made two minor league transactions on Thursday afternoon, granting left-handed pitcher and former San Diego Padres’ first round pick Eric Lauer his unconditional release from the Indianapolis Indians. They also released first baseman Aaron Shackelford from the Altoona Curve.

Lauer, 28, pitched to a 3.19 ERA with Milwaukee in 2021 after missing much of the first month of the season with an injury. He turned in another solid performance in 2022 before a shoulder injury tanked his performance last season. The Brewers sent him to the minor leagues midway through the year, indirectly ending his tenure in Brew City as he elected free agency at season’s end.

The Pirates took a flier on him midway through spring training, signing him to a minor league contract on March 10. He never pitched at a level worthy of a big league call-up, though, struggling to a 5.52 ERA in 29.1 innings in Indianapolis before exercising an opt-out in his contract earlier this week, leading to the Pirates’ granting his release.

Shackelford, 27, hit three doubles and four home runs for Altoona in 23 games this season, slashing .216/.263/.409 before the organization transferred him to the Development List—used to remove players from the active roster in order to further their professional development—on May 10.

In and of itself, the Development List isn’t a bad thing. Paul Skenes spent some time there in 2023 after the Pirates shut him down for the year, as did Braxton Ashcraft, who the Pirates wanted to ease back into live innings after missing all of 2022 with an injury.

With Shackelford’s age and plateauing production, however, it seems like Pittsburgh saw it as the end of the road.

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