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Pirates make first cuts

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MLB: Spring Training-Pittsburgh Pirates at New York Yankees Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates cut six players from major league camp, their first cuts of the spring. None were big surprises. They were catcher Jin-De Jhang, shortstop Kevin Newman, left-hander Cody Dickson and right-handers Nick Kingham, Clay Holmes and Tyler Eppler. Kingham and Holmes were optioned to AAA Indianapolis. The others were non-roster invitees and were re-assigned to minor league camp. The Pirates now have 56 players in camp, not counting Jung Ho Kang.

Of the six, the only one who has a reasonable chance of appearing with the Pirates this year is Kingham, who returned from Tommy John surgery late in the 2016 season. The top prospect in the group is Newman, who batted .389 in 18 at-bats in the spring. He expects to begin 2017 back at Altoona according to the Post-Gazette. That’s a little surprising, but hopefully he won’t be there long. Jhang, Dickson and Eppler could all see time at either Altoona or Indianapolis this year, or both.