On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Pirates released veteran outfielder Brad Hawpe. It had been a tough spring for Hawpe, who had a .139 batting average with 18 strikeouts in 36 at bats. On the positive side, he did have a home run and six runs batted in.
Hawpe was trying to return to the majors after missing all of last season due to Tommy John surgery on his left elbow in 2011. Even before the injury, his power numbers were on the decline. In both 2010 and 2011, he was in single digits in home runs and his batting average was 30 points below his career average.
It was a classy move by the Pirates to release him with a week to go in spring training. This allows him to latch on with another team if any teams are interested. He will likely have to accept a minor league assignment and work himself back into baseball shape. It might just be the end of the road for Hawpe, but some organization might look at his numbers a few years back with the Colorado Rockies and think he is worth a flyer.
The release of Hawpe is a bit of good news for Felix Pie, who is looking to make the Pirates roster as a backup outfielder. He has had a good spring, batting .308 with a couple of home runs and eight RBI. He also has two stolen bases and speed is a something Hawpe never had to offer, even in his heyday.
Wiith eight days left before the season begins, the Pirates’ roster is still at 39 players. That means 14 more cuts are to come, so stay tuned.