Pirates place LeRud on 40-man roster
The Pittsburgh Pirates purchased the contract of 2003 Galena High graduate Steve LeRud on Thursday, ensuring that he would stay with the franchise.
The move means that LeRud will begin spring training with the Pirates Major League team and that he will begin spring training on the Pirates 40-man roster. LeRud has been invited to the Pirates spring training the last two seasons as a non-roster invitee.
By placing LeRud on their 40-man roster, the Pirates have protected LeRud from being taken in the Rule 5 Draft on December 11. Nonprotected players who are not on 40-man rosters can be taken in the draft by teams to make up for losses due to free agency.
Last season, LeRud, a left-handed hitting catcher, finished up the year at Double A Altoona where in 47 games he hit .233 with four home runs and 18 RBI. LeRud isn’t considered a candidate to make the Pirates opening day roster, but it’s likely he’ll begin the season either at Double A Altoona or Tripla A Indianapolis.
LeRud signed out of high school after being drafted by the Pirates in the second round. The Pirates didn’t want to take the chance of losing LeRud in the drafte because so many teams lack young catchers. Plus, the Pirates also don’t have that many young catchers in their organization.
“He can catch and throw,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. “He’s left-handed. He looks the part. We wanted to buy ourselves some time by ensuring that he stays in the organization.”