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Pirates release Valiquette, 5 others; convert Jared Lakind to pitching

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USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have released six minor-leaguers and converted Jared Lakind to pitching.

The six minor-leaguers are Phillippe Valiquette, Mike Colla, Alex Lukashevich, Martires Cadet, Wilson Lee and Porfirio Lopez, all pitchers. Valiquette was signed in the offseason and once threw 100 MPH, but he apparently doesn't do that anymore. Colla has consistently posted solid numbers, most recently as a swingman in Altoona, but has never been regarded as much of a prospect. Lukashevich is from Belarus and is still only 18, so it's a little surprising to see the Pirates give up on him so quickly, but it's almost certainly not a big deal. The common thread with all six of these guys (including Valiquette these days) is that they don't throw hard.

The Bucs also converted first baseman Jared Lakind to pitching, which is (as we saw a couple years ago with Jesus Brito) a last-ditch effort to try to turn him into a prospect (and hey, Lakind is left-handed). The Pirates gave Lakind a $400,000 bonus out of high school when they picked him in the 2010 draft, but clearly, that didn't work at all -- he posted a .445 OPS for State College last year.