Just minutes before first pitch, the Pirates made a move many thought would potentially come days or weeks ago.
Pittsburgh designated utility man Josh VanMeter for assignment Wednesday afternoon before the first of two games against the New York Mets.
Fellow utility player Hoy Park was recalled in a corresponding move. Park has seen action in 22 MLB games with the Pirates this year, hitting .220 with two home runs, six RBI, and a stolen base.
Park slashed .236/.342/.386, mashing 10 home runs while bringing in 34 runs in 78 games with Triple-A Indianapolis.
Left-handed reliever Eric Stout was also recalled to serve as the 29th man for the doubleheader.
VanMeter took on a variety of roles for the Bucs in 2022. The fourth-year player slashed only .187/.266/.292 in 171 at-bats spanning 67 games. VanMeter recorded three homers, 14 RBI, and a .558 OPS for Derek Shelton’s club.
He found playing time at all three bases, the outfield, as well as emergency catcher and pitcher. It’s safe to say VanMeter wore multiple different hats in his time as a Pirate but could not rely on consistent at-bats and solid defense to stick around.
VanMeter’s -1.1 WAR is a tall tale sign of his overall struggles, committing four errors at both first and second base.
His departure further opens the door for younger players to earn playing time after previously being blocked.
The Pirates have 26 games remaining on their 2022 schedule following Wednesday’s doubleheader at PNC Park.