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Pirates designate George Kontos for assignment, activate Joe Musgrove

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have made two roster moves, activating right-handed starter Joe Musgrove, who was rehabbing in the minors, to start tonight’s game against St. Louis. To clear space on the 25-man roster, they designated right-handed reliever George Kontos for assignment.

It was a little surprising, but certainly a relief, to see the Pirates cut bait on Kontos. He’d already lost the setup role for Felipe Vazquez and was pitching only in mopup roles, and not well, either. For the season, he had a 5.03 ERA and 5.21 xFIP, both of which, if anything, understated just how hard he was getting hit. His K/9 had plummeted from 9.5 last year to just 4.1. He was allowing hard contact 40.3% of the time and soft contact just 12.5%. He’s a prime example of how it’s unwise to get carried away with a small, late-season sample size. He posted a 1.84 ERA (but 3.67 xFIP) in 15 outings with the Pirates late in 2017 after they claimed him off waivers from the Giants. That was in comparison to an xFIP that hovered right around 4.00 throughout his career.