Crick is suffering from right triceps tightness after making just two relief appearances this season. A former first round pick of the Giants, Crick joined the Pirates before last season as part of the Andrew McCutchen trade. While he may not be a household name, Crick was an effective piece for the Pittsburgh bullpen after being called up in mid-April. Appearing in 64 games, Crick went 3-2 with a 2.39 ERA (3.14 FIP, 4.00 xFIP) across 60 1/3 innings – good for exactly 1.0 fWAR. He throws a 95.8 mph heater, augmented with a hard-driving sinker and a slow-down slider, effectively used to put away right-handed batters last season (44.4 K%, 50% whiff rate).
He figured to serve in a primary setup role after tallying 16 holds last year, second on the team to only Edgar Santana, who is out for the year after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Trade deadline acquisition Keone Kela will be relied upon even more heavily in his stead to set up closer Felipe Vasquez. Elsewhere in the pen, tule 5 pick Nick Burdi is getting looks early this season, while Richard Rodriguez will claim whatever high leverage innings aren’t taken by Kela/Vasquez. The Pirates bullpen was generally middle of the pack last season, finishing 14th in ERA, 12th in xFIP and 14th in fWAR.
Taking Crick’s roster spot is outfielder Jason Martin, who will make his major league debut. Martin, 23, came over in the Gerrit Cole trade. He ranked 24th on Fangraphs’ list of top Pirates prospects coming into this season. With a roughly even split between Double-A and Triple-A in 2018, Martin hit a combined .274/.337/.429, though with a stark difference between the levels. After raking in Double-A to the tune of .325/.392/.522, Martin hit only .211/.270/.319 in Indianapolis. While he’s being pressed into duty with the big league club a little earlier than the Pirates likely hoped, he had a strong spring, and they are definitely in need of outfield depth after injures to Gregory Polanco, Lonnie Chisenhall and Corey Dickerson.