The Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen has several concerns.

Two of the key concerns are that four relievers carry a 4.78 ERA or above and Javier Lopez is the only left-handed arm in the pen.

The answer to some bullpen help may be in Indianapolis. His name is Justin Thomas.

Thomas is a 6’3″ 220 pound lefthander out of Youngstown State and is the Seattle Mariner’s 2005 forth round draft choice.

Thomas began his professional career as a starter and in 2006, his first full year, he won 14 games.

In 2008 he reached Tacoma, the Mariners AAA club, and was converted to a reliever. The conversion had proved mediocre results and on October 29, 2009 the Pirates claimed Thomas off waivers from the Mariners.

This spring the Pirates assigned him to AAA Indianapolis and he is making the best of it.

Thus far into the season he has appeared in 16 games and is 3-0 with a 1.48 ERA, 0.62 whip, and an impressive 22:3 strikeout to walk ratio. In addition, lefthanders are hitting a minuscule .086 against him.

Sure, these are AAA numbers—but I believe he has made his case for the Pirates pen.



Read more MLB news on