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Pirates Outright John Van Benschoten, Ronald Belisario

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Pitchers John Van Benschoten and Ronald Belisario have been removed from the 40-man roster. They must have cleared waivers, because they've been assigned to the minors (as Yoslan Herrera and Marino Salas were a few days ago).

Van Benschoten's case is well known. As a pitcher with at least decent stuff, he may yet have some kind of future as a reliever, where he hasn't gotten much of a shot yet. But even that's highly unlikely, since he'll be 29 (!) by mid-April and his major league performances thus far have been beyond miserable.

Belisario was a bizarre addition to the Pirates' roster in the first place. He hasn't had a good year in the minors since 2003, and he missed all of 2005 and 2006 with injuries. He didn't do anything interesting at AA this year. Bouncing him off the roster should have been an easy choice.

The Pirates should currently have two spots open on their 40-man roster, but they need to make room for a number of players, including Jose Tabata, Neil Walker and Jamie Romak. We'll probably see several more players dropped in the coming weeks.

Thanks to Uncle Nate.

UPDATE: All except Herrera can choose minor league free agency if they want. They have a few days to decide, so we'll know soon whether they stay with the organization.