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PIRATES Al Reyes released as first cuts made

Friday, March 14, 2003

The moves leave Pittsburgh with 44 players in its spring training camp.
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) -- Veteran right-hander Al Reyes was released Monday as the Pittsburgh Pirates made a series of roster moves.
Left-handers Mike Gonzalez and Matt Guerrier were optioned to the minor leagues, with team assignments to be determined later, along with right-hander Bobby Bradley, catchers Ryan Doumit and J.R. House, first baseman Walter Young and outfielders Tony Alvarez and J.J. Davis.
Right-hander Jim Mann, catchers Blake Barthol and Chris Heintz, infielders Tomas de la Rosa and Aaron Holbert and outfielders John Barnes and Tike Redman were reassigned to the minor-league camp.
The moves leave the Pirates with 44 players in their spring training camp, including 26 pitchers.
A surprise
The release of Reyes was somewhat of a surprise as he pitched well for the Pirates during the final six weeks of last season after being called up from Class AAA Nashville, going 0-0 with a 2.65 ERA in 15 games. However, Reyes had a poor spring as he was 0-1 with a 13.50 ERA in three appearances, allowing five runs in 31/3 innings.
"As we continue to push to get better, we just saw there were pitchers with more potential to help us than Al," Pirates general manager Dave Littlefield said. "As we added more non-roster pitchers throughout the off-season, we felt we were really able to upgrade ourselves over some of the guys who were part of our roster last season."
Reyes, 32, was due to make $400,000 in the majors or $115,000 in the minor leagues this season. By releasing him Monday, the Pirates only have to pay a sixth of his minor league contract, about $19,000.
Reyes has a 15-8 career record with three saves and a 4.12 ERA in 207 games over eight major-league seasons with Milwaukee, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Pittsburgh.
Alvarez and Davis made their major-league debuts with the Pirates last September. Alvarez hit .308 with one homer and two RBIs in 14 games while Davis batted .100 in nine games.
Player upset
Alvarez, 23, hit just .222 with three RBIs in seven exhibition games. Davis, 24, batted .286 with one homer and three RBIs in eight games.
An upset Alvarez declined to talk to reporters but Davis was philosophical.
"They want me to go back down to the minors and gain experience, get more at bats," Davis said. "I understand their thinking. I need to get better but I'm very confident I'll be back in the major leagues very soon."