May 17, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Vin Mazzaro (32) pitches during the eighth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. New York Yankees won 7-1. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates designate Vin Mazzaro for assignment

In a move prompted more out of need than due to performance, the Pittsburgh Pirates have designated right-hander Vin Mazzaro for assignment. He’ll be replaced on the active roster by right-hander Brandon Cumpton, who’s been called up from Triple-A Indianapolis.

Mazzaro had blossomed into a key piece of the Pirates’ bullpen a year ago. He’d toss 73.2 IP on the year over 57 appearances, posting a 2.81 ERA and 1.208 WHIP. He’d spent most of his career working out of the starting rotation before the Pirates moved him to the bullpen full time and something finally seemed to click for the now 27 year old. Mazzaro hasn’t quite found the same success this season.

He initially failed to make the team’s Opening Day roster and was designated for assignment at the end of spring training. Surprisingly he’d cleared waivers before being outrighted to Triple-A, an assignment that Mazzaro accepted rather than test the free agent market. He dominated over 10.2 IP, allowing just three hits and no runs before the Pirates summoned him back to Pittsburgh at the start of May. He’s given up four runs on eight hits since in 10.1 IP, good for a 3.48 ERA and 1.258 WHIP. He’s given up two home runs in that stretch, after allowing just three all of last season.

Cumpton has already made two starts for the Pirates this season, allowing six runs on eleven hits over 12.1 IP. His peripherals are solid – 6.4 K/9, 0.7 BB/9, 0.992 WHIP – but he’s been unable to get much support from the Pirates offense. He’s also 4-1 in six starts at Triple-A, with a 1.35 ER and 1.100 WHIP in 40.0 IP.

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