The Pirates announced Thursday that they’ve selected the contract of first baseman/outfielder Will Craig from Triple-A Indianapolis and designated righty Sean Poppen for assignment in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster. Craig will take the active roster spot of infielder/outfielder Phillip Evans, who is going on the 10-day injured list due to a hamstring strain. Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported earlier in the day that Craig would be brought back up to the MLB roster.
Pittsburgh designated Craig, their first-round pick from the 2016 draft, for assignment back in November after claiming righty Ashton Goudeau off waivers. Craig went unclaimed on waivers and remained with the organization and headed to Spring Training as a non-roster player.
Craig has opened the year just 6-for-26 in Triple-A, but he’s fanned only three times and three of those six hits have been round-trippers. With Colin Moran and Evans on the injured list and Todd Frazier having been recently designated for assignment himself, it seems like Craig will have an opportunity to another look at first base — at least in the short term.
Poppen, 27, was claimed off waivers out of the Twins organization over the winter but hasn’t found much success in his short time with the Bucs. He tossed just 4 1/3 innings this season and was tagged for seven runs (four earned) on 11 hits and a couple of walks with four strikeouts. He’s served up a pair of runs in four Triple-A frames as well.
Poppen, a Harvard product, has spent parts of five seasons in the minors since being selected by the Twins in the 19th round of the 2016 draft. He’s compiled a 3.39 ERA in 413 2/3 minor league innings, punching out 23.5 percent of opponents against a 7.6 percent walk rate.