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Shoulder strain sidelines Brault

Cincinnati Reds v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Another Pirates pitcher has had his spring training interrupted by injury.

One day after announcing that right-handed reliever Clay Holmes would be sidelined from four to six weeks with a fractured right foot, the club said Monday that left-hander Steve Brault would be shut down due to a left shoulder muscle strain.

Via Twitter, the Pirates said Brault would remain with the team and he would be reassessed in two weeks to determine “a throwing status.”

Brault had made two spring training appearances totaling 2 1/3 innings. He gave up four hits and two earned runs while striking out three and walking none.

Brault was in a battle for a spot in the starting rotation, and his most likely competition – the newly acquired Derek Holland – has had mixed results in his first two starts.

Saturday, Holland worked 2 2/3 innings, giving up two hits and a walk while striking out two in the Bucs’ 2-0 win over the Twins.

In his first start, against Detroit, Holland pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed three hits and two earned runs while striking out five.

Holland, like Brault, a left-hander, signed in late January and is looking to rebound after an ugly 2019 season that saw him post a 6.08 ERA and a 2-5 record in 51 appearances with the Giants and Cubs. In 84 1/3 innings, he surrendered 82 hits, walked 45 and struck out 82 for a WHIP of 1.50.

Brault’s 2019 numbers weren’t pretty either – he finished with a 4-6 record and a 5.16 ERA in 113 1/3 innings. But he showed signs of being an effective back-of-the-rotation starter; in a 15-game stretch from May 18 through Sept. 1, Brault registered a 2.97 ERA while walking 32 and striking out 72 in 78 2/3 innings.