The Pirates announced that they’ve signed left-hander Clayton Richard to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training.
Richard hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2013, but the Relativity Sports client was a mainstay in the Padres’ rotation from 2010-13 after being acquired in the Jake Peavy trade with the White Sox. A shoulder impingement cut his 2013 season short, and he went on to have surgery to relieve thoracic outlet syndrome in the offseason. He did get back on a mound to throw 21 1/3 minor league innings with the Diamondbacks last year. The Pirates will hope that Richard is another in the long line of pitchers they’ve revitalized, although the minor league deal is a more minimal investment than their previous reclamation projects.
Now 31 years of age, Richard posted a 3.88 ERA with 5.4 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 in 520 innings for the Padres in 2010-12, twice topping the 200-inning mark. He boasts a career ground-ball rate of 50 percent — an attribute to which the Pirates have been attracted in other pitchers over the past few years. Pittsburgh is known to be incredibly aggressive with its infield shifts, and that trait should help maximize Richard’s ground-ball tendencies if he ultimately makes the club.